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Indiana YMCAs target childhood obesity

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana is one of 14 states that the national YMCA is targeting for an initiative against childhood obesity.

Some of the potential projects for the state’s 45 YMCA associations are creating safe walking routes to schools, increasing physical education and activity in schools and improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables in some neighborhoods, The Indianapolis Star reported (

“We want to look at examples of practices in healthy communities that are working and imitate them around the state,” said Brent Wake, director of Healthy Living Initiatives for the state YMCA alliance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Survey found that in 2010 14.2 percent of Indiana’s children ages 2 to 5 years were obese and 12.8 percent in grades 9-12 were obese.

The YMCA of the USA is giving the Indiana group $280,000 for two years toward the effort.

A 12-member statewide committee has been formed to direct the effort. The chairwoman is Marcie Memmer, director of nutrition and physical activity for the Indiana State Department of Health.

The project’s aim is to increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity for children, Wake said. That can be done through working with schools, community organizations, after-school program providers and child-care providers.