No matter which part of the country you go to, you're going to find younger people having a tough time growing up. Whether that be out west, down south, east, or here in Iowa, there are problems for children everywhere. What was it like for you growing up?

I may be an outlier here but remember my youth very positively. I had/have great parents, I made a lot of lifelong friends, I enjoyed playing on a lot of sports teams, and I had some really good role models to look up to. The sad truth is, is that's not the case for everyone.

Wallet Hub recently did a study on the most at-risk states, for the youth, in the U.S and discovered almost 13% of kids ages 16-24 either do not attend a school or are not working in any capacity. They do account for some youth suffering from health conditions that don't allow them to develop physically or socially.

These varying issues play a huge factor in the younger generation and not only later in their own lives but for our society collectively. Through Wallet Hub's research, they discovered that 70% of young adults can't join the military because of failing academics and moral/health qualifications.

It's no secret that young people who grow up in poverty, experience violence in their homes, or are around drug use are likely to have a tougher time as they become adults but did you also know that in 2022 these troubling times are even worse for younger people?

Wallet Hub's research was based on 16 factors. The main three factors included were disconnected youth, labor force participation rate, and youth poverty rate. Where do you think Iowa youth ranks?

Source: WalletHub

Iowa currently ranks as the number 33 state out of 51 (they included the District of Columbia) and received an all-around score of 41.71. In education and employment, Iowa received a score of 40, which is actually pretty good. The overall health score is what drops Iowa a little low in the rankings... Iowa scored an overall health score of only 20. The state with the most at-risk youth is Louisianna, as they score number 1 in both categories of unemployment/education and health.

Back in May, we learned that nationally Iowa ranks near the bottom in physical fitness which we've learned can not only affect you physically but mentally as well. 33 out of 51 isn't a terrible score for our youth risk rate in Iowa, especially when our education and employment numbers are pretty solid but it definitely shows we need to get young people up and moving.

With the number of distractions, kids have today, whether it be their phone, video games, youtube, or social media, I know that's easier said than done. Now is time to make sure the young person in your life knows the importance of exercising, not just because it's great for their physical health but the importance it holds on their mental health as well.

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