PHOM Indicator Report of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents
Why Is This Important?The number of overweight or obese children and adolescents is increasing and diseases previously thought to affect mainly adults, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, are now being diagnosed in children and adolescents. The social and psychological impacts of childhood obesity include social isolation, increased rate of suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, increased rate of anxiety disorders and depression, and increased likelihood of being bullied.
Percentage of Utah Children Who Were Obese by Grade and Sex, 1st, 3rd, and 5th Grades, Utah, 2012
Data SourcesUtah Department of Health, Bureau of Health Promotion, Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Program (2012) Height/Weight Measurement
Data NotesChildhood obesity is determined by calculating BMI using the height, weight, age, and sex of the child. The child is considered to be obese if the resulting BMI is greater than or equal to the 95th percentile for age and sex based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Growth Charts (2 to 20 years: Boys Body Mass index-for-age percentiles and 2 to 20 years: Girls Body Mass index-for-age percentiles). In 2012 height and weight measurements were collected from 4,477 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade students in 69 randomly selected public elementary schools in Utah.
How Are We Doing?The percentage of obese children in Utah has increased dramatically over the past decade. From 1994 to 2012 the number of obese third grade boys increased by 105%, from 6.0% in 1994 to 12.3% in 2012. The percentage of obese third grade girls increased by 40% over the same time period. In 2012, 8.4% of third grade girls were obese compared to 6.0% in 1994.
Among adolescents, in 2011 8.6% of public high school students were obese; boys were almost three times as likely as girls to be obese (12.2% compared to 4.8%).
The obesity rate among adolescents in grades 8, 10 and 12 was lower in Summit County LHD (4.0%) than the state rate (7.5%).
It is likely that these data, based on self-reported height and weight, under represent the prevalence of overweight or obesity among high school students.
What Is Being Done?In 2008, through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity (PANO) program was established in the Department's Bureau of Health Promotion. The purpose of the grant is to increase healthful eating and physical activity to prevent and control obesity and other chronic diseases by building and sustaining statewide capacity and implementing population-based strategies and interventions. In the first year, partners were convened to develop a statewide obesity plan. The state plan was released in April 2010 and addresses the six areas of focus for the grant (as required by CDC) including 1) increase physical activity; 2) increase consumption of fruits and vegetables; 3) decrease the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages; 4) increase breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity; 5) reduce the consumption of high energy dense foods; and 6) decrease television viewing. Years 2-5 of the grant period focus on implementing objectives in the state plan.
In 2007, a newly-formed nonprofit Utah Partnership for Healthy Weight was incorporated. Currently the Partnership is focused on bringing informational and financial resources not readily available to state health departments to obesity prevention efforts in Utah. The Partnership works to coordinate the many ongoing and future initiatives within Utah's communities. UDOH staff attend regular meetings of the Partnership and also serve as Partnership board members.
(1) The Gold Medal School (GMS) Initiative helps elementary schools set up policy and environmental supports that make it easier for students and staff to be physically active and eat healthy food.
(2) The Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Program (PANO) and Action for Healthy Kids are working with local school boards to improve or develop policies for nutritious foods in schools. This includes recommendations for healthy vending options.
(3) The "Unplug 'n Play" program encourages students and their families to limit TV and other screen time to less than two hours per day.
(4) Height and weight trends are being tracked in a sample of elementary students to monitor Utah students.
(5) Action for Healthy Kids brings partners together to improve nutrition and physical activity environments in Utah's schools by implementing the school-based state plan strategies.
In the Community:
(1) The "A Healthier You Legacy Awards Program" is a collaborative effort of the UDOH and community partners. It is a unique program that started as part of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The Program recognizes the efforts of communities, schools, and worksites to increase opportunities for their constituents to participate in health-enhancing areas: nutrition, physical activity, and healthy behaviors. Criteria categories for the award include policy, infrastructure, and outcomes. Recipients can receive bronze, silver, gold, and platinum awards for meeting criteria under these categories.
(2) UDOH joined with Intermountain Healthcare and KUTV in a health promotion program aimed at improving the overall health of Utah residents. The Check Your Health media campaign promotes the message "Eat Healthy, Be Active!" The campaign encourages all Utah families to make healthy food choices, develop a regular family mealtime, use correct portion sizes, and get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. The campaign specifically targets females ages 25-54.
(3) Local health departments receive federal dollars to mobilize community partners to improve or develop active community environments where people can walk and bike safely.
(4) The PANO program leads a statewide coalition to implement strategies within the state plan.
Healthy People Objective NWS-10:Reduce the proportion of children and adolescents who are considered obese
U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category
Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 10/22/2012