Survey: Diabetes, Obesity Rates on the Rise Among California Adults
The percentage of California adults who are overweight or have diabetes has climbed in recent years, even as more gain insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to data from the California Health Interview Survey, the Sacramento Bee reports. The data were released Tuesday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Details of Survey
The survey -- which was conducted via phone interviews in 2013 and 2014 -- polled more than 48,000 Californians on various health-related issues, such as:
- Birth control use;
- Chronic conditions;
- Fast-food consumption; and
- Drug use.
The survey included all 58 counties in the state and was conducted in seven languages.
The survey found that the uninsured rate in 2014 dropped by more than three percentage points to 17.4%, in large part because of increased enrollment in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, under the ACA.
Findings on Obesity
Despite the increase in health coverage, the survey found that about 27% of adults in 2014 were considered obese -- up from 19% in 2001.
According to the survey, 31% of California adults with incomes below the federal poverty level in 2014 were obese, compared with less than a quarter of the richest 50% of Californians.
Susan Babey, a senior research scientist at UCLA, said, "It's not a trend that's going to change quickly, but it is disappointing to see the obesity number climb, particularly since nationally it has shown a leveling off." She added, "[W]e haven't seen that leveling off in California, particularly among adults."
Babey also noted that the incidence of obesity in California actually could be higher because the data in the survey were self-reported, and people tend to underestimate their weight.
Findings on Diabetes
Meanwhile, the survey found that the percentage of Californians with diabetes has increased in the last decade. Nine percent of Californians in 2014 were diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 6.6% in 2003.
The uptick in the diabetes rate could be due in part to a growing rate of Californians who reported eating fast food at least twice a week -- up from 35% in 2007 to 39% in 2014 (Buck/Reese, Sacramento Bee, 8/18).
The survey also found that:
- Nearly 12% of Californians ages 18 and older said they were current smokers, but 70% of those had considered quitting in the next six months;
- Nearly 34% of women ages 18 to 44 who use birth control said they used forms of long-term contraception, such as intrauterine devices and implants; and
- 56.6% of women ages 18 to 44 who use birth control said they used oral contraception (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research release, 8/18).
Meanwhile, the survey found that children in the state were leading more sedentary lifestyles -- a trend that Babey said could harm the long-term health of Californians. She said, "Evidence suggests that the habits we develop as children, particularly adolescents, influence our health behaviors as adults" (Sacramento Bee, 8/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.