Is California’s Childhood Obesity Picture Really Improving?

November 19th, 2011 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy recently released a report, “A Patchwork of Progress, Changes in Overweight and Obesity Among California 5th, 7th, and 9th Grades, 2005-2010. California making headway in battle against childhood obesity but successes are uneven | UCLA Center for Health Policy Research The lead was that the state prevalence rate had dropped between 2005 and 2010 by 1.1%. This was widely picked up by the media and indicating that California had turned the corner on childhood obesity. Childhood obesity rates level off in California and L.A. County – latimes.com

The report and some of the media report did indicate wide variations. 31 of 58 counties showed an increase in the rates of obesity and five had rates at least 10% higher in 2010 than in 2005. 26 counties experienced a decrease in rates of obesity with 7 have rates at least 10% lower in 2010 than in 2005.

So, does this look like progress? Consider this: the number of children who are overweight or obesity actually increased from 2005 to 2010. Reason: school enrollment increased from 1,137,122 in 2005 to 1,214,061 in 2010. So, while the prevalence figured may have dropped during this 5 year period, the number of children considered overweight or obesity increased by 16, 729 or 3.7%.

A study by this group last year indicated that income disparities in obesity prevalence was significantly increasing, principally affecting low income male adolescents. Income disparities in obesity trends amon… [Am J Public Health. 2010] – PubMed – NCBI