N.D. ranked 2nd in nation for childhood obesity

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota is annually ranked number one in wheat, sunflower and barley production.

Another category the state is rated very high in is childhood obesity.

While the monkey bars are high, they are not as high as the percentage of overweight children in North Dakota.

The Peace Garden state came in second in the nation for childhood obesity in the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health.

“That is surprising to me. You know we go to parks and we always see a lot of other families at the park as well. I guess it can be hard in the winter months maybe to encourage that activity. It might be easier to stay inside and watch a movie but that is kind of surprising to me,” said Retha Mattern, parent.

So what's a parent to do if their kid is a part of the 37 percent obese?

“It's important that if a child already is overweight that they are not put on a diet. They should be able to grow into that weight and if they're already teenagers that are full grown then everyone has to work on eating habits and it's not just that child but it's the entire family,” said Nicole Enzminger, registered dietitian at Sanford Health.

The Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health estimated that more than 9 million children ages 10 to 17 are overweight in the U.S., of that, nearly 26,000 are from North Dakota.

A child's eating pattern is typically established by age six. The Body Mass Index, or BMI, is how a child's ideal weight is measured,

“The BMI is just an assessment tool because if you had a really muscular person, they could actually have a high BMI and be considered obese because that's why you have to take that bone structure, you have to take their muscular structure, you have to take all of those things into effect,” said Enzminger.

Enzminger says you don't have to be one specific body type to be considered healthy. The National Football League is encouraging kids to exercise with its "Play 60" campaign.

That along with guidance from parents and schools could help reduce the state's obesity score.