New data shows childhood obesity rates persisting in San Bruno, with more than 40 percent of children in the city now considered overweight.
San Bruno was ranked second highest in San Mateo County with 43.4 percent of its children falling into the overweight or obese category—trailing only behind South San Francisco, which has a obesity rate of 47 percent among kids. Additionally, the city showed a higher rate of childhood obesity on average 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 34.1 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 (Manhattan Beach), to more than half of children falling into the category on the high end (Huntington Beach).
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 fifth, seventh and ninth grade school children.
After analyzing 11 cities in the county, researchers found Burlingame to have the lowest range at 24.4 percent.
San Bruno parent Celestine Stevens, who is a member of the San Bruno Mothers Club, said she wasn't surprised by the findings in the study.
"I'm thinking there's a correlation between number of fast food outlets, highest level of education attained and household salary levels, and obesity by city," Stevens said. "Not to mention weather factors and its conduciveness to exercise—gorgeous Manhattan Beach weather vs. the San Bruno wind."
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 to see how all cities ranked, visit www.publichealthadvocacy.org.