OGDEN -- The percentage of overweight adults in Utah has more than doubled since 1989, and the percentage of overweight children in the state has tripled since the 1960s.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department has a Healthy Living Resource Guide that is now available online. The guide offers one-stop information on free and low-cost options for physical activity, nutrition and safety resources in the community.
"We really tried to make it appeal to everyone, whether you are a visitor and are looking for a biking trail or a longtime resident looking for ways to branch out," said Rochelle Creager, health educator with the health department.
New to the guide, now in its third edition, is a roundup of splash pads and other water features that have recently opened.
Also available is address and contact information for open gyms, recreations centers, swimming pools, skate parks, ice-skating rinks and recreation programs for youths and adults that facilitate year-round physical activity.
The guide also offers tips on healthful eating, including ways to limit calories, good food and drink choices, and where to find farmers markets, food banks and breast-feeding education support.
It features many suggestions as well, including eating together as a family, not snacking in front of the TV, drinking more water and adding more fish, beans, whole grains and fruits and vegetables to the diet.
All kinds of health problems can stem from being overweight, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, stroke, arthritis, some cancers, respiratory problems, heart disease, sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes, Creager said.
In addition, children who are obese have a higher risk of being obese in adulthood. They are also more likely to be bullied and suffer anxiety, depression, isolation and low self-esteem, Creager said.
The percentage of obese children in Utah has increased dramatically over the past decade, according to state Health Department statistics.
From 1994 to 2012, the number of obese third-grade boys increased by 105 percent, from 6 percent in 1994 to 12 percent in 2012.
Obesity among third-grade girls increased by 40 percent over the same period. In 2012, 8 percent of third-grade girls were obese compared to 6 percent in 1994.
Among adolescents in 2011, 8.6 percent of public high school students were obese, and boys were almost three times as likely as girls to be obese (12.2 percent compared to 4.8 percent).
When it comes to safety, topics in the county health guide include current car seat guidelines and other tips to help parents keep their children safe at home and on vacation.
"People don't need to spend a lot of money to try something new or to make healthy changes," Creager said.
"Many times, they just aren't aware of what is available right in their own community. We think the guide can help them accomplish their goals without scouring the Internet or thumbing through the phonebook."