Beach Cities Health District finds increase in childhood obesity
by Garth Meyer
After long-term decline in local childhood obesity, the Beach Cities Health District and the Redondo Beach Unified School District report a small increase for 2022.
The BCHD resumed its annual Body Mass Index assessments in RBUSD elementary schools for the school year 2021-22, after a pause at the onset of the pandemic.
Results showed a childhood obesity rate of 7.9 %, an increase over the 2018-2019 figure of 6.4 percent.
BCHD reports that, nonetheless, rates among local kindergarten, first grade and fifth grade students have continued to decline since 2007 – with numbers far below county, state and national figures.
“We believe the slight increase in Redondo Beach childhood obesity can be attributed to the stressors our children are experiencing due to the pandemic,” said Tom Bakaly, Beach Cities Health District CEO. “With children back in classrooms, we’re hopeful our programming can turn this recent increase around, and we can continue to support our youth’s physical and mental health.”
The BCHD created its LiveWell kids obesity prevention program in 2007. Since then, it has shown a 60.5 percent decrease in student obesity in the Redondo school district. The program includes policy changes for school lunch, eight-minute morning exercises, nutrition and garden programs, “Walking Wednesdays” and School Wellness Councils.
BCHD is now working on an expansion of its “LiveWell Tots” school health program to early childhood development centers throughout the Beach Cities.
Beach Cities Health District is focused on preventive health. Established in 1955 as a public agency, it serves the cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.ER