New data shows childhood obesity persisting throughout the state, and presents troubling figures on the local level.
In Elk Grove, 33.8 percent of children fall into the overweight or obese category—a lower percentage than in nearby Galt, but higher than in Folsom.
The first of its kind study, conducted jointly by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, breaks down the statistics city by city. It shows 36.1 percent of children in Sacramento County are overweight or obese. The figure for California is 38 percent.
Overweight and Obesity among Children by California City–2010 analyzes more than 250 California cities, finding “shocking discrepancies based on locale,” according to the report.
The cities studied showed a range from nearly 1 in 10 children being overweight or obese on the low end, to more than half of children falling into the category on the high end.
Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the study used data from the California Department of Education’s 2010 Physical Fitness Tests to examine geographical variation in overweight and obesity among fifth, seventh and ninth-grade school children.
Researchers analyzed six cities in the county, and found Folsom to have the lowest range at 22.2 percent, and Sacramento and Galt to be the poorest performers with 39.9 percent.
Ranked from highest to lowest, the local statistics are:
- Sacramento, 39.9 percent
- Galt, 39.9 percent
- Rancho Cordova, 39.1 percent
- Citrus Heights, 34.7 percent
- Elk Grove, 33.8 percent
- Folsom, 22.2 percent
Policy recommendations urge state and local leaders to improve conditions in schools and communities to help make healthy lifestyle choices easier for children and their parents.
Suggestions include removing high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie foods and beverages from school districts, opening school recreational facilities after hours for community use, and making streets and roadways more accessible for those who walk, bike and use wheelchairs.
To read the findings and policy recommendations, as well as see how all cities ranked, click here.
Do you agree with these findings? What should be done to make Elk Grove kids healthier? Let us know in the comments section.