Nutrition and Physical Activity

Goal: To reduce the number of Polk County residents who are overweight and obese.

How will we reach this goal?

The Nutrition and Physical Activity Workgroup has created a workplan to address the Obesity issue in Polk County. To view the Nutrition and Physical Activity workplan Click Here

Why is Nutrition and Physical Activity an Important Issue:

Good nutrition, physical activity, and a healthy body weight are essential parts of a person’s overall health and well-being. Together, these can help decrease a person’s risk of developing serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. A healthful diet, regular physical activity, and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight also are paramount to managing health conditions so they do not worsen over time.

Why is Nutrition and Physical Activity included in the Polk County CHIP?

  • With an obesity rate of 30%, Polk County exceeds the state rate of 28%. Wisconsin’s goal is to decrease the percentage of adults who are obese from 28% to 25% by 2020. The national goal is to reduce the percentage of adults who are obese from 36% to 25% by 2020.  (County Health Rankings 2017)
  • When asked on the community health survey to describe their own weight, just over one-third of respondents described their weight as “healthy.” 42% of respondents reported they were “slightly overweight” and 17% said they were “very overweight.”
  • Obese youth are more likely to become obese adults, putting them at risk of having lifelong health consequences. (CDC, 2015)
  • Childhood obesity is an epidemic. In the US, one in five preschoolers is at least overweight, and half of these children are obese. Breastfeeding helps protect against childhood obesity. A baby’s risk of becoming an overweight child goes down with each month being breastfed. (CDC, 2015)
  • In Polk County, 64.6% of WIC (Women, Infants and Children) newborns are breastfed for 3 months, compared to 57.8% of WIC newborns statewide. The Wisconsin WIC goal is 65%. (Polk County WIC data, 2016)
  • The community health survey compiled data from respondents on fruit and vegetable consumption. When asked to report on the typical number of fruits and vegetable servings (1/2 cup) consumed in a day, the most frequent response was two servings (27%). This is far short of the recommended five servings per day, which was reported by only 8% of respondents.
  • Approximately one-third of the restaurants in Polk County are fast food restaurants, compared to 40% statewide, and a national goal of 25%. Although fast food restaurants provide some healthy options, a well-balanced selection is important for health outcomes.
  • Approximately 20% of Polk County adults aged 20 and older report having no leisure time physical activity (County Health Rankings 2017)
  • 29% of respondents to Polk County’s community health survey reported leisure time physical activity on one or fewer days.
  • In 2015, 56% of Polk County High School Students reported being physically active for a total of at least 60 minutes per day on 5 or more days out of the week. (Polk County YRBS 2015)

Who are the key stakeholders?

Polk United Healthier Together
Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee
Polk County Breastfeeding Coalition
Polk County Health Department (WIC, Fit Families, Prenatal Care Coordination)
Polk County Worksites
Polk County Fitness Centers
Polk County Policymakers
Polk County Healthcare Providers
Polk County School Districts
Polk County Childcare Providers
Polk County Citizens
Polk County Farmers’ Markets, Farm Stands and Apple Orchards
Polk County Women of Reproductive Age
Polk County Government