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Study: Benicia Has Lowest Childhood Obesity Rate in Solano County

New research finds 29.9 percent of the city's children fall into the overweight or obese category.

New data shows childhood obesity rates persisting throughout the state, and presents troubling figures on the local level.

Benicia has the lowest rate of childhood obesity in Solano County with 29.9 percent of its children falling into the overweight or obese category. Additionally, the city showed a lower rate of childhood obesity than both the county and the state.

The first of its kind study, conducted jointly by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, breaks down the statistics city by city. It shows 38.4 percent of children in the county are overweight or obese. 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 5 cities in the county, and found Benicia to have the lowest range at 29.9 percent, and Suisun City to be the poorest performer with 46.3 percent.

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.

JB Davis June 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM
One of the interesting things about the Hunger Challenge, which I participated in, was the way I chose healthy food and not too much of it. There are a lot of things we could all do to be healthier. My favorite recommendation from the study is the complete streets element. However, it isn't enough to make sure there are sidewalks and bicycle lanes. We also need to encourage kids to use them and that is best done by example. Perhaps we should all try leaving our cars at home more often.
JB Davis June 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Hi Mr. Johnson and welcome to Benicia!
Robert Livesay June 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM
JB the real issue is the folks themselves. The advise most doctors give is lose weight and exercise more. When you do not you are now on meds to correct the situation. I am a big believer that it is up to each person to take care of their own personal habits. Yes it might be nice if we all walked and road bikes more often. But what if that person does not want to. We do not know what their personal habits are. They may go to a gym, work in their garden or just walk close to home. We can not dictate personal habits. Just try and educate what the final out come could be. I think that is why we have doctors. JB when I was a young child we were always outside doing things. Plenty of running and games. Now these kids are all into electronics and gadgets. It is up to the parents to controll and make sure children eat correctly and exercise. I never had a school lunch program, my mother was my school lunch program. From the seventh grade on we had gym class nd many after school activities. Believe me all most all of them were out door activities. I blame the parents, schools and administrators for not paying any attention to this issue. In many cases it is enviroment, heredity and culture. Some folks just do not learn and end up paying the price. We are all included. Some to a higher degree than others.
T. Gunter June 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM
There has got to be a way we can bring the Mayor into this discussion, as well. Oops, I just did.
T. Gunter June 17, 2012 at 11:29 PM
I read that at least 25 cents of every health care dollar is spent on the treatment of diseases or disabilities that result from potentially changeable behaviors. Whether the cause is smoking, alcohol abuse, poor diet, lack of exercise, failure to use seat-belts, or overexposure to the sun; these are all preventable health care costs. People with unhealthy habits pay only a fraction of the costs associated with their behaviors; most of the expense is borne by the rest of society in the form of higher insurance premiums.

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