Overweight and obesity are terms for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. Obesity has been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2-diabetes, and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

Overweight and obesity rates in California’s counties tripled over the past three decades, but have remained stable from 2005-2010. Sixty-two percent of Imperial County adults reported being overweight or obese, compared to 51 percent statewide, according to the findings of the 2009 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). Overweight or obese is defined as having a body mass index >25. Thirty-one percent of Imperial County adults were obese (BMI >30), a significantly higher percentage than for California overall (23%).

Twelve percent of Imperial County children aged 2-11 were overweight for their age (defined as the proportion of children 2-11 whose weight for age is above the 85th percentile on gender and age specific CDC weight guidelines), according to the 2009 CHIS findings. Thirty-three percent of local teens aged 12-17 were overweight or obese (defined as the proportion of teens aged 12-17 whose BMI is at or above the 85th percentile on gender and specific CDC BMI guidelines).

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