(The Center Square) – Indiana plans to spend $ 50 million in government funds to find ways to make Hoosiers healthier.

Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill setting out a state health improvement plan to combat declining public health by providing $ 50 million in grants over two years to programs to address health inequalities .

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to look more closely at health disparities across the state,” said Rep Steve Davisson, R-Salem. “We need to invest in the well-being of all Hoosiers, and these grants provide our communities with additional tools to address common health problems.”

Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Georgetown, said the grant program will prioritize proposals that focus on improving chronic health problems such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

A recent United Health Foundation report showed that more Indiana residents smoke more than most other states, and it’s among the worst for physical activity.

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Indiana’s health problems were also evident in other areas. The state is on the low end of public health funding and air pollution.

Only 21.1% of Hoosiers get either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. That’s compared to 23% of all Americans. Vermont leads the nation with 28.5%.

The foundation found a study that shows those who spend less time exercising spend about $ 920 more per year on health care.

The annual report found that 21% of people in the state have depression, while 11.7% have multiple chronic conditions and 27% have arthritis. Also, 35.3% of Hoosiers are obese.