According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 65 percent of Marylanders age 18 and older are overweight, as are more than 15 percent of Maryland teens in grades nine to 12. Research shows people who are overweight are at a higher risk for everything from heart disease, diabetes and stroke to high blood pressure, respiratory problems and sleep apnea. “So many people struggle with their weight and are looking for a quick fix,” says Cindi Miller, director of community health education for Howard County General Hospital. “What works is healthy eating and more exercise … a lifestyle change.” For adults, the hospital runs Healthy Weight Connection, an eight-week class that meets twice a week and includes one-on-one counseling with a dietician, gentle yoga and discussions about nutrition and healthy eating. For children, Columbia Association offers YouthFit, an eight-week, physician-referral program designed for ages 9 through 16. YouthFit includes physical activities, access to Columbia Association pools, a field trip to a local grocery store and discussions about nutrition and healthy eating for both children and parents. “Children learn they have a lot more healthy choices than they realize,” says Shawni Paraska, director of community health and sustainability.