The rate of overweight and obese children increased in many California counties from 2005 to 2010, but the state's overall rate of overweight and obese children fell slightly, according to a study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the Visalia Times-Standard reports (Visalia Times-Standard, 11/9).
Researchers based the study on data collected in the California Physical Fitness Test given to students attending public schools (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/9).
Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of overweight and obese children in the fifth, seventh and ninth grades fell by about 1% in California, the study found. Even so, the study found that 38% of children in those grades were overweight or obese.
According to Susan Babey from the Center for Health Policy Research, there was an increase in overweight and obesity rates among children in 31 of the 58 California counties (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/8).
Imperial County had the highest rates at 47%, while Marin County had the lowest at 25% (Dills, Napa Valley Register, 11/9).
The study also found that 46.2% of Hispanic children were obese, compared with 29.3% of blacks, 26.1% of whites and 23.9% of Asians (HealthyCal, 11/9).
Researchers noted that California spends more than $21 billion annually on health issues related to obesity (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/8).
Harold Goldstein -- executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and a co-author of the report -- said that the slight decline in the statewide overweight and obesity rate offers "some reason for hope" but that "the rates are really abysmal and unsustainable" (Loury, Monterey County Herald, 11/9).
Babey said the researchers hope the report will "help community leaders pinpoint and take action in counties in the greatest danger" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/8).