Department of Public Health

Nutrition & Wellness

BMI Study | Healthy Living | Ottawa County Food Policy Council
Farmers Market Promotion Program | Summer Food Service Locations | Resources

Childhood Body Mass Index Study


Ottawa County, like the rest of the nation, is faced with the challenge of reducing rates of obesity among children. Overweight children and adolescents are at risk for health problems during their youth and as adults. Studies have shown that overweight youth are more likely to become obese as adults. In addition, overweight youth are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Although it was suspected that local childhood obesity rates would follow national trends, until 2005, there was no information to verify this. The Department of Public Health developed the 3rd Grade BMI Measurement Study to monitor childhood obesity. As part of the study, the department measures the Body Mass Index (BMI) of local children. BMI is a health measurement based on a child’s age, gender, weight, and height., The most recent study found that 9% of the sampled students were classified as obese and 14% were classified as overweight.

Measuring Body Mass Index

Are you wondering about your child's weight status? One of the best places to find out if your child is obese or at risk for becoming obese is your family doctor. Ask for a Body Mass Index Screening at your child's next check-up. Your doctor can help you examine Body Mass Index (BMI) scores, family risk factors, and lifestyle to determine if your child is at risk. You can also use the BMI Calculator to determine your child's BMI.

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Choose Healthy Living

Did you know the number of children who are overweight has tripled over the past 25 years?  
Children who are overweight can suffer from asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They may also feel emotional distress and low self esteem. 7 out of 10 overweight adolescents will become overweight adults. Locally, obese and overweight adults out number those with a healthy body mass index. Ottawa County Department of Public Health is committed to helping reduce childhood

Eat Healthy

  • Aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

  • Reduce fat by serving low fat milk and dairy products, along with lean meats and poultry.

  • Limit sugary foods and beverages.

  • Keep snacks healthy. Serve fresh fruit, raw vegetables and low fat cheese.

  • Serve correct portion sizes; 2-3oz meat, 1/2c. pasta, 2T peanut butter, 1/2c. vegetables, or 1oz cheese.

  • Never put your child on a calorie restricting diet without the advice of a physician.

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Get Active

  • Encourage your kids to play outside with other children or plan physical activities as a family.

  • If you are active together, a child will not feel singled out if they are overweight.

  • Focus on fun rather than skill, allowing kids to choose what they like. If kids think that physical activity is fun, they’ll be more likely to do it.

  • Have your child help with active chores, like walking the dog.

  • Your entire family will benefit from eating healthier and increased activity.

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  • Make a family commitment to reduce screen time for everyone.

  • Turn off all electronics during dinner.

  • Limit TV and electronics to 1 - 2 hours per day and consider specific times as “screen free”.

  • Take the TV out of your child’s bedroom.

  • Less screen time gives you more time to be together as a family.

  • Children are more likely to be healthy when parents and other family members make healthy choices.

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Ottawa County Food Policy Council

The Ottawa County Food Policy Council (OCFPC) is a group of local agencies, organizations and other stakeholders assuring low-income residents' access to healthy food. The Vision: An available supply of well-balanced meals for all. The OCFPC has a three year Strategic Plan and is currently focused on:

  • improving the level of cooperation between food resource providers;

  • improving food quality in the non-profit food distribution system;

  • increasing food resources to meet the needs of those with dietary restrictions, medical conditions and ethnic preferences;

  • expanding access to farmers markets;

  • addressing food availability issues for children outside of school; and strengthening the OCFPC.

The OCFPC meets on a quarterly basis, and the OCFPC Subcommittees meet monthly. For more information or to get involved with the OCFPC, visit

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Farmers Market Promotion Program

Bridge card holders can now make purchases at the Holland Farmers Market. You can also find detailed information about the Holland Farmers Market, including location bridge cardand hours of operation at Funding for this was provided by the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. Find other markets at  

Not sure if you qualify for a Bridge Card? Visit to determine if you are eligible and to apply for benefits.

To search a Farmers Market near you, visit

Summer Food Service Locations

The Summer Food Service program, called Meet Up & Eat Up, was created to provide anyone 18 years of age and younger free nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs. The program is available at 17 Holland locations serving breakfast, lunch and/or snack throughout the summer months. Holland Locations Spanish | Michigan Locations

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Let's Move! Childcare is about helping to prevent early childhood obesity.
Whole Family Connection is a free, anonymous, on-line information and referral system to help you identify your needs and link you to services.
The site lists more than 123,000 acres of parks, trails, and other recreation areas located within the eight-county region that includes Allegan, Barry, Kent, Ionia, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Ottawa counties.
Information about fruit and vegetables. Including ideas and healthy recipes to ensure fruits and vegetables are included in your meal plan.
Offers personalized eating plans and interactive tools to help you plan/ assess your food choices based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
My Plate Kids Place- Kids will find games, videos, songs, activity sheets, recipes and tips to help them eat more healthfully and move more. Parents and teachers will find new ways to help kids make healthier food and physical activity choices.
Action for Healthy Kids is a nationwide initiative dedicated to improving the health and educational performance of children through better nutrition and physical activity in schools.
America's Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids.
We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight.
Great Start of Ottawa County works with families and communities to identify needs, maintain resources and creatively seek solutions to existing gaps for families with young children. The site offers parents a means to find child care and offers child care providers information about training.
Help your children get connected with nature at Outdoor Discovery Center- The No Child Left Inside Initiative.
Offers hundreds of healthy recipes.
Get your personalized nutrition and physical activity plan, track your progress, and get tips and support.
Search the database of recipes submitted by nutrition and health professionals and organizations.
Fun body and mind games for kids and families from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Arthur’s Lunch-O-Matic and other fun games and resources from PBS Kids.
Fruit & Veggie Color Champions games and resources from Fruits & Veggies More Matters.
Healthy Habits: Student Guide to Nutrition and Fitness Resources

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  • Phone: (616) 396-5266
    FAX: (616) 393-5643
    Clinic FAX: (616) 393-5659
  • Monday - Friday:
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Other Locations

Grand Haven
1207 South Beechtree Street
Suite B
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Phone: (616) 846-8360
Fax: (616) 844-1778

Monday: 8am-5pm
Monday: 5pm-6pm
by appointment only
Wednesday: 8am-5pm
Friday: by appointment only
Closed: 12pm-1pm

3100 Port Sheldon Road
Hudsonville, MI 49426
Phone: (616) 669-0040
FAX: (616) 669-3039

Tuesday & Friday:
8am-12pm & 1pm-5pm