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Fox Valley’s weight gain has consequences

We’re getting bigger. Not just in population, but in sheer mass.

The 2016 Fox Cities Leading Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Study reports 70% of Calumet and Outagamie County residents are overweight or obese, about 5 percentage points higher than in 2011. Winnebago County is a little better at 58%.

PrintIncluded in the fallout of that is a steady increase in area adults being diagnosed with diabetes. There is some hope that increased prevention efforts will have an effect, researchers said.

High schoolers say they are consuming less alcohol and doing less binge drinking – going from one-third in 2009 to 30% in 2015 drinking alcohol, and from 23% to 16% binge drinking. Use of marijuana did increase somewhat in that period.

The LIFE Study has been conducted every five years since 2001. It is sponsored by United Way Fox Cities, the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. The study looks at Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties. The four priorities for community change selected by a cross-section of more than 200 area residents in a daylong examination of the LIFE Study were: poverty, youth health, student performance, and youth safety. We will highlight different sections of the report weekly here in The Loop. Read more at

Most concerning statistic: Youths in the Fox Cities continue to consider and attempt suicide at a higher rate than state or national averages. In 2005, 12% of Fox Cities high schoolers said they attempted suicide – twice the statewide rate.

  • Outagamie County saw an increase in uninsured children between 2013 and 2014.
  • From 2009 to 2013, infant deaths decreased in Winnebago and Outagamie counties.
  • The percentage of Fox Cities high schoolers who smoke every day dropped by 10% from 2009 to 2015.

One Response to Fox Valley’s weight gain has consequences

  • Tom Young says:

    Mr Horst. Great information; thanks for raising awareness of this most important issue.

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