NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - New data released from the group Weight of the Fox Valley shows 75percent of adults and 28percent of children in Winnebago, Calumet, and Outagamie counties are overweight or obese.
Ascension, Aurora and ThedaCare calculated the body mass indexes of more than 91,000 adults.
Numbers from a previous survey of 1,600 adults showed 64 percent of adults were overweight or obese.
Health officials are concerned about the high prevalence because obesity increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
What factors led the community to reach this point?
"Our sedentary lifestyle with our computers and sitting so much for that," Paula Morgan, director of community health for Thedacare, said. "Food everywhere now with fast food and other food options."
Morgen believes it will take a group effort to reverse this trend.
"Takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire community to create a healthy community," said Morgen.
And Weight of the Fox Valley, a community initiative, says a team is ready to tackle the problem.
More than 100 partners attended its quarterly meeting Friday.
"We're trying to do something about it," Sarah Wright, program manager of Weight of the Fox Valley, said. "We really want to raise awareness. We really want to help people overcome this."
Efforts include advocating healthier options at grocery stores, restaurants and school, along with working with municipalities to create more places to be active.
Appleton says it's doing just that. Pointing to the multi-million dollar improvement that happened this summer at Erb Park.
"We're bringing athletic opportunities to neighborhoods that they can become active, if you look at safe environments for our trails and sidewalks," said Kurt Eggebrecht, Appleton's city health officer.
And Morgen says little changes can make a lasting difference.
"Little steps every day, whether it's taking the stairs, changing one meal in the course of your day, finding ways to be more active," she suggested.