New data shows childhood obesity persisting throughout the state, and presents troubling figures on the local level.
Suisun City has the highest percentage of overweight and obese children in Solano County— nearly half of kids in the city fall into those categories, according to the study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
The first-of-its-kind study breaks down the statistics city by city. It shows Suisun City leads the county with 46.3 percent, compared to lowest Benicia at 29.9 percent. Fairfield has 39.3 percent. 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 5th, 7th, and 9th grade school children.
Researchers analyzed three cities in the county. Ranked from highest to lowest, the local statistics are:
- Suisun City, 46.3 percent
- Vallejo, 43.7 percent
- Fairfield, 39.3 percent
- Vacaville, 36.3 percent
- Benicia, 29.9 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.