Tulare County Forum Discusses Obesity Rates Among Children in Low-Income Families
Tulare County health officials and residents on Friday gathered to discuss the county's increasing childhood obesity rates and possible ways to address the problem, the Fresno Bee reports.
According to statistics from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, 27.3% of children in the state's 34th Assembly District, which covers most of Tulare County, are overweight. The data also show that 40.8% of children in the district are unfit. Participants in the forum, which was sponsored by Cities, Counties and Schools Partnerships, said lowering childhood obesity rates would require a coordinated effort by government officials and community members.
Dr. Alexander Kelter, chief of epidemiology and the Prevention for Injury Control Branch at the Department of Health Services, said children in low-income families have obesity rates that are higher than the national average.
Catherine Lamp, a nutrition adviser with the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Tulare, said low-income families "are not getting enough fruit and vegetables." She added, "They feel the need to buy foods that will fill them up, and those tend do be the fattiest foods." Lamp also noted that grocery stores are often not located in poor neighborhoods, so low-income families must rely on convenience stores with a limited selection of healthy foods (Bragg, Fresno Bee, 4/9).
In other Tulare County news, Tulare District Hospital on Monday opened its new fitness facility, called Evolutions Fitness & Rehab Center, with "hundreds of new members waiting to enter before sunrise," the Bee reports.
The center, which cost $8.5 million to develop, is projected to generate $2.5 million in revenue and $250,000 to $300,000 in profit in its first year of operation, according to hospital CEO Bob Montion. The facility includes 150 pieces of equipment, an indoor track, three exercise rooms and a daycare facility.
Montion said, "It looks like there was a lot of pent-up anticipation," adding, "The thrill of it for us is you have so many people (here) who would never need to use the hospital" (Fonte, Fresno Bee, 4/12).