Healthy Active Arkansas

What does your 10-year plan look like? Perhaps in 10 years you plan to have children, or you will be getting ready to send your child off to college. Maybe you plan on selling your home and retiring on a tropical beach, or maybe you expect to start an exciting new career. Many who plan for the future consider finances and family, but they don’t always plan for their health. Healthy Active Arkansas outlines 2, 5, and 10-year plans that focus on healthy living for a healthier population and reducing obesity in Arkansas.

What is Healthy Active Arkansas?

Obesity rates have increased nationwide for the last couple of decades. Arkansas had the highest obesity rate in the country in 2014 with 35.9% of the adult population being obese. While the obesity rate decreased to 34.5% in 2015, obesity in Arkansas is still a problem.

The Healthy Active Arkansas initiative is a framework designed to reduce obesity and improve health in the state of Arkansas. The main purpose is to “increase the percentage of adults, adolescents, and children who are at a healthy weight”.

The plan is based on goals outlined in the Institute of Medicine’s Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. According to the IOM report, two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese.

Healthy Active Arkansas focuses 9 priority areas to encourage and enable healthier lifestyles.

  1. Create physical spaces to encourage physical activity
  2. Establish nutritional standards for government, institutions, and private sectors
  3. Establish nutritional standards for schools
  4. Encouraging physical activity and education in schools
  5. Encourage physical activity and education in the workplace
  6. Improve access to healthy foods
  7. Reduce the consumption of sugary beverages
  8. Encourage women to breastfeed
  9. Develop a culture that promotes healthy lifestyle choices

Read the entire Healthy Active Arkansas plan.

Obesity is a health burden and a financial burden

There are a number of negative health risks associated with obesity. Obesity has been known to cause, increase the risk for, or exacerbate health problems such:

  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • cardiovascular disease
  • certain types of cancer
  • depression
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • hypertension
  • metabolic syndrome
  • sleep disorders
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes

Good health is, of course, important to your overall quality of life, but it also affects the financial and family aspects of your life as well. While announcing the Healthy Active Arkansas initiative, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said, “an unhealthy Arkansas is an expensive habit”.

Each year, Arkansas spends $1.25 billion on obesity-related illness. 40% of those healthcare costs are paid for by tax dollars.

On average, obese adults spend more than $,1400 dollars each year for medical services than adults at a healthy weight. 760,000 Arkansas adults are obese, which is more than a third of the adult population.

Make good health a part of your 2-, 5-, or 10-year plan. A healthy diet and regular physical activity are important, but so are regular doctor visits. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider today!