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LA County Kids Are 2.5% Less Fat These Days, But Is Childhood Obesity Still an Issue in California?

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The short answer: You betcha.

Now for the longer answer. A study released today by UCLA and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy called "A Patchwork of Progress: Changes in Overweight and Obesity Among California 5th, 7th, and 9th Graders, 2005-2010" found that while in some counties, including Los Angeles, the childhood obesity rate is showing some decline, there has been an increase in more than half the state's counties.

Statewide, the rate of childhood obesity declined during 2005-2010 1.1 percent. In Los Angeles County, the decline was 2.5 percent. However, in 31 out of 58 counties there was a recorded increase. "The rate among 6-11-year-olds is also four times higher than it was in 1980, and three times higher for 12-19-year-olds, the study found," notes the Daily News.

Currently, per the study, "38 percent of children are still either overweight or obese" in California. That means those 38 percent are at a higher risk of facing chronic health issues and battling obesity in adulthood.

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The study also spotlights some racial disparities:

The data also showed obesity disproportionately affects Hispanic and African American children, who had childhood obesity rates of 46.2 percent and 39.3 percent respectively. Only 26.9 percent of white kids were obese in 2010.

So despite some encouraging data among some groups, the issue of childhood obesity in California is still a serious issue. The group behind the study has some policy recommendations based on their findings:

The epidemic of childhood obesity will not be solved by calling for individual behavior change alone. To address this health crisis, state and local leaders must address the conditions in schools and communities that contribute to the epidemic and undermine parents’ efforts to protect their children’s health.

Much of their proposed policy covers kids' access and exposure to unhealthy foods at school, in their neighborhoods, and through the media. You can download a .pdf of their policy recommendations, and other information from the report, here.

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Now for the infographic action:

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