|See! Changing behaviors AND changing environments. That’s how we need to move this.|
|November 12, 2011, 03:48 AM|
San Mateo County is one of only a few California counties where obesity rates have significantly dropped over the last five years, according to a just-released study, and officials are thanking the work of a community-wide initiative.
“Seven years ago we made a commitment to turn the tide on obesity and it looks like we are making progress,” said Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow in a prepared statement. “A lot of the work the Health System and community are doing is about changing the physical environment to promote health. It is also about redesigning food systems to support health. This work will take a long time before we see it pay off, but this study suggests we’re on the right track.”
Since the launch of the Get Healthy San Mateo County initiative, the Health System has worked with community partners to increase the number of children walking and biking to school, improve streets and neighborhoods to make walking and biking the easy and safe option, remove junk foods from schools and corner stores and decrease sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.
The percentage of overweight and obese children in the county dropped 5.6 percent between 2005 and 2010, according to the study A Patchwork of Progress: Changes in Overweight and Obesity Among California fifth, seventh and ninth graders, 2005-2010. The report was prepared by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
San Mateo is the only Bay Area county to see a decrease over the past five years but health officials say the work is far from done. One out of every three children in the county, or 34 percent, is still deemed obese or overweight.