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New childhood obesity report finds Minnesota tied for 8th-lowest rate in nation

The third annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was released Wednesday.

MINNEAPOLIS — A new report released Wednesday shares insights on where Minnesota measures up to the rest of the nation when looking at childhood obesity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), a philanthropic organization focused on public health policy, has analyzed and compiled data on childhood obesity for the past three years. Their 2021 report analyzed body mass index (BMI) measurements for children ages 10-17 and found that 16.2% of American children, or roughly one in six, is obese. Data was collected by the 2019-2020 National Survey of Children’s Health, along with analysis conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. 

The findings, broken down by each state, reveal that Minnesota ties for the eighth lowest rate of obesity in the nation, at 11.7%, or roughly one in ten children.

Officials at the foundation say the scope of the data is limited because of how the BMI was collected: self reporting by parents. However, they say one thing is certain: it's best to start healthy eating habits early in life.

"If we can get kids to a healthy weight by kindergarten, their weight trajectory is much more likely to be retained in that healthy weight status," said Jamie Bussel, senior program officer for RWJF.

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