Hoosier kids are a little chunky.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, however, as Hoosier adults are among the U.S.’s girthiest, too.
That’s one of the biggest — pun intended — takeaways from a new data analysis on children’s health care released by online financial services website WalletHub.
Overall, Indiana ranked 36th in the nation in the scoring metric for children’s health out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Indiana frequently ranks towards the bottom when it comes to annual health scores for both children and adults, as the Hoosier state has struggled to move the line on risk factors like obesity, nutrition, child mortality, physical exercise and smoking rate.
WalletHub’s scores are broken down into three separate categories each with their own individual data points, which include access to health care; nutrition, physical activity and obesity; and oral health.
Indiana ranked middle-of-the-pack on access to health care, but had lower scores on oral health care and nutrition, physical activity and obesity.
When it comes to percentage of overweight children, Indiana ranks in at 50th out of 51, ahead of only West Virginia, according to WalletHub.
The state wasn’t in the Top 5 most obese, according to WalletHub, so juvenile waistlines haven’t strayed as wide in that metric.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which conducts annual national health studies, reports Indiana’s obesity rate for children age 10-17 at 16.7%, 16th worst in the nation. Obesity affects about 19.3% of Americans between the ages of 2 and 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Indiana’s adults are significantly heftier, with 35.3% obesity rate, 11th worst in the nation.
Of the 12 most obese states in the nation, Indiana joins regional neighbors and several Deep South states at the big bottom.
Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginian, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas all post adult obesity rates above 35%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nationally, more than 1-in-5 adults are identified as obese.
Obesity has been correlated with educational levels and income, with obesity being more prevalent at lower incomes and lower education.
Carrying extra weight has a long-term detrimental effect on a person’s health and can lead to and exacerbate chronic health problems including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Indiana ranked 40th overall for nutrition, physical activity and obesity in the WalletHub study, a category which scores states on factors including not just percentages of overweight and obese children but also access to healthy food, sugary drink consumption rates, fast food restaurants per capita and the percentage of children who are active at least 60 minutes per day.
Indiana ranked 36th overall among states for children’s oral care, but was 28th for access to health care, which looks at factors like infant and child death rates, vaccination rates, uninsured rates, doctor offices per capita and cost of medical care.