Philadelphia School District reports progress in reducing childhood obesity rates

Sept. 6, 2012, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The overall obesity rate among Philadelphia schoolchildren fell more than 4.5 percent between the 2006-07 and 2009-10 school years, according to a study published today in Preventing Chronic Disease. The decrease, from an obesity rate of 21.5 percent to 20.5 percent, was reported among male and female students ages 5 to 18 from all racial and ethnic groups. The largest declines were seen among African American boys and Hispanic girls.

The study reported a 7.6 percent decrease in the obesity rate among African American boys and a 7.4 percent decrease in the rate among Hispanic girls. While other cities and states around the country also are beginning to report decreases in their childhood obesity rates, Philadelphia is the first to record such marked progress among youths that have historically been at greatest risk for obesity. Read the study here.

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and James S. Marks, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Foundation’s Health Group, write in a commentary accompanying the new study that the report from Philadelphia is “crucial proof of the concept that communities can reduce obesity rates — and do so in a way that helps to close the disparities gap.” …


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