Three out of ten American children aged 10-17 are either overweight or obese, according to the just-released 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH).

AHA CEO Nancy Brown said that although the survey shows “glimpses of progress” in some states, changing the alarming child obesity statistics is vital, because that extra weight puts children at increased risk of lifelong chronic diseases.

“Community leaders in every state must remain vigilant in making progress for the sake of our children’s health,” said Brown. “Continuing to improve access to healthy, affordable foods throughout every child’s day is critical to heart health.”

She said that efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity should begin in early child care, every school and neighborhood.

“Recent data shows that children as young as 11 from socially and economically disadvantaged families and neighborhoods appear more likely to have thicker carotid artery walls, which in adults may indicate higher risk for heart attack and stroke in later life. Elected officials at every level of government should consider this a call to action for doubling down on investments in better nutrition and physical activity starting in the earliest years of life.”