Local organizations fight obstacles that prevent healthy eating

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Hoosiers have something to celebrate. According to a report released last week, Indiana is no longer one of the top 10 most obese states in america. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the obesity rate has gotten any better.

With the convenience of the drive thru and the low prices of a combo meal, it’s no surprise that Americans struggle with eating healthy.

The new study from the Truth for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation says that 33.6% of Hoosier adults are obese. That means taht Indiana is now ranked No. 12 on the most obese states list. While that's better than last years 10th place finish, it’s actually a one percent increase from last year’s report, which put Indiana's obesity rate at 32.5%.

While finding healthy food at a low cost is a challenge for some, local organizations like Growing Places Indy are there to help.

"It's important that we all realize this isn't just someone else’s issue, its a cultural issue, its a city issue," said Kat Reiner with Growing Places Indy. "We're really happy that the city of Indianapolis is investing in these markets and investing in better food for everyone.”

One part of the organization's mission to promote wellness through programs like urban farming. Reiner says two main reasons people struggle to eat healthy are because of cost and access to healthy foods. To combat both those issues, they joined forces with the City of Indianapolis and IndyGo to open a new produce market at a city bus stop.

"People riding the bus and people working downtown can just hop over and grab fresh produce at really low prices,” Reiner said.

Growing Places Indy also offers a SNAP benefits match program at their winter farmers market.

"Not only do they get matched once, but we are the only market in the state that actually triples their dollar," Reiner said. "So if they come in and swipe their snap card for $20, they end up walking around the market with $60 to spend.”

While unhealthy eating is only one factor that leads to obesity, organizations like Growing Places are trying to give people a reason to skip the drive thru, and choose healthier options.

"When you have fresh food that's providing your body sustenance, you can start to manage to deal with all the other stuff that's happening in your life,” Reiner said. "We see the difference that it makes in people's lives to eat well.”

For more information on Growing Places Indy and their programs, you can visit their website growingplacesindy.org.