Childhood obesity decreased in San Mateo County from 2005 to 2010, while every other Bay Area county saw a rise, according to a California public health study released Wednesday.
The study, performed by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health, examined data from statewide annual fitness tests administered to all California students in fifth, seventh and ninth grades.
Results showed a 1.1 percent decrease in obesity rates statewide – essentially stagnating after a 30-year continuos rise, according to the study. Yet more than one third of children tested statewide are still overweight.
In San Mateo County, 34 percent were obese in 2010, a decline of 5.6 percent from 2005.
“Seven years ago we made a commitment to turn the tide on obesity, and it looks like we are making progress,” said San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow.
Marin County has the lowest rate in the Bay Area, about 25 percent, while Napa had the highest – 39 percent. And all counties, except San Mateo, saw an increase from 2005 to 2010.
Only nine counties throughout the state had obesity rates below 30 percent. The study cited economic disparities, as well as nutritional education and access to recreation, as factors contributing to obesity.
“We can tell folks to get 30 minutes of physical activity a day and to eat their veggies, but that doesn’t work if we make it hard to walk or bike and fill our neighborhoods and schools with poor foods,” Dr. Morrow said.
San Mateo County has implemented several programs to combat obesity in the last few years, including recently