The growing epidemic

Child overweight rates on the rise in california assembly districts
Study Documents


County Fact Sheets

Senate Fact Sheets

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A summary of the study, findings, and policy recommendations.

Includes the table of contents, background, methodology, results, policy recommendations, and appendices from the study.

OVERVIEW. In 2005 CCPHA released Child Overweight Rates on the Rise in California Assembly Districts, showing that the epidemic of overweight children in California continues to grow. This epidemic points to two of the most serious public health problems facing California today: unhealthy diets and low levels of physical activity among our children. Unless policymakers forcefully address this crisis, Californians will face skyrocketing rates of preventable chronic diseases and rapidly escalating costs of medical care, workers’ compensation, and lost productivity.

THE STUDY. To determine whether there have been changes in the epidemic of overweight in children since our report in 2002, CCPHA analyzed data from the California Department of Education's 2004 Physical Fitness Test and compared the findings to the earlier results. To provide policy makers and the general public with a clear picture of the extent to which this epidemic affects their communities, findings are reported for each state assembly district and each senate district. For summary information, see the Press Release and Press Kit, and an accompanying Assembly District Policy Brief.

LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT FINDINGS. Across California, the percentage of children in grades 5, 7, and 9 who were overweight increased 6% over three years, from 26.5 per 100 children in 2001 to 28.1 per 100 children in 2004. The increase occurred among both boys and girls and among children of all racial/ethnic backgrounds. Increases occurred in nearly every assembly district.

Click on the following links for a summary of rates for all legislative districts:

  • Assembly: Rates for all 80 assembly districts.
  • Senate: Rates for all 40 senate districts.
COUNTY AND CITY FINDINGS. In seven of the ten largest cities in California, the rates of overweight children in 2004 were higher than the statewide average, with rates ranging from 24.4% in San Francisco to 36.3% in Los Angeles . In nearly two-thirds of California counties (65%), at least one in four children was overweight.

Click on the following links for specific findings:

MAPS. Summary maps are available for Assembly Districts, Senate Districts and Counties

POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS. The report called on state and local leaders to address the conditions in schools and communities that contribute to the crisis of overweight among children and undermine parents’ efforts to protect their children’s health. CCPHA called on policy makers to establish comprehensive policies that support parents in providing opportunities for their children to make healthy choices about eating and physical activity.

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Support for this project was provided by a grant from The California Vitamin Cases Consumer Settlement Fund. The 2001 analysis was funded by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.