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Anne Marie Tiernon/ Eyewitness News

Health leaders say being overweight is the number one issue facing Indiana’s children. The fix takes a total family buy-in.

In the Carter family, football is tradition.

Crystal Odle Carter’s mother played professionally and starting as soon as young Crystal could, in the 2nd grade, she suited up.

“I play center and I am the only girl on the team,” 10-year-old, Crystal said.

Year after year, her uniform and number changed and so did her figure.

“When I was little I was skinny and then when I got into football and everything and I got older, that is when I started getting bigger.”

Crystal’s mom says looking back she was in denial about her youngest.

“She was just the baby, she was just the baby she’s just a chunky baby you know, It just didn’t even click.”

That changed when at a routine doctor’s appointment, the family learned Crystal had high blood pressure.

“It didn’t even register that there was a problem, but it was the high blood pressure it made me sick.,” Mom said.

So, Crystal learned how to do pushups, sit-ups and squats through the St Vincent LIFE program. She also modified her diet and now she’s lost body fat, inches and six pounds.

Her mom says it is a work in progress.

“Hot pockets, things we just had to cut back that I thought was just a quick snack was just feeding her a lot of fat, so I had to learn how to shop and how to read labels, I’m still learning.”

Doctors says Crystal’s situation is common, but their willingness to change is rare.

“We only have a ten percent response rate when we try to counsel on obesity, so we have a big problem,” said Dr Jerrold Smith.

Dr. Smith puts the responsibility on the parents who buy the food and model behavior that is in conflict with their common goal.

The fix takes a total family buy-in, that means at grandma’s too and the whole family will see rewards.

Crystal’s mother is down 35 pounds since October.

For help, St. Vincent has the LIFE program and Riley has the POWER program to give families with accountability and an action plan.

If you have questions about your child’s weight, you can get them answered by a medial professional just email:mailto:askthedoctor@wthr.com.

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