Dupage County just released information about its obesity rates, and here’s some of the data:
- DuPage obesity rates among kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade public school students have declined slightly since 2011-2012.
- Still, one in seven (15.1 percent) kindergarten, sixth grade and ninth grade public school students in DuPage County is obese; 44 percent of obese children had elevated blood pressure.
- One in four (26.4 percent) adults in DuPage County identified as obese. An additional 33.5 percent (one in three) identified as overweight.
These numbers are alarming because of the increased risk for health problems that people who are obese face.
Children who are obese are at greater risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and bone and joint problems. And children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times more likely to be overweight or obese as adults.
What can we do?
Everyone can take action to improve their health. One way to do that is by increasing every day physical activities like biking and walking.
For kids, biking and walking to school is great way to get regular exercise.
But encouraging kids to bike and walk to school is just part of the puzzle. Improving access to biking and walking to school is a community effort – from the parent allowing it, to the school providing bike racks and education, to the community for providing a safe environment, and for programs to fund it.
Programs like the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Program can help improve sidewalks and access to biking and walking and also fund related educational programming.
But this program needs improvement to ensure the communities that need the funding and support most are getting it.
Learn more about the Safe Routes for Healthy Kids Campaign to increase funding for the SRTS program and make it easier for communities to apply.
Sign onto the campaign here! Use the hashtag #SafeRoutesIL to share your story on social media.
The report on the rates of obesity in DuPage County, titled “Addressing Obesity in DuPage County: What You Can Do,” was published by FORWARD, a countywide, public-private partnership promoting increased healthy eating and physical activity in DuPage County.
Visit www.forwarddupage.org for additional recommendations for actions that child care settings, healthcare facilities, municipalities, parents, schools, and worksites can take to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
This blog post was written by Krystal Kleinschmidt from the DuPage County Health Department.