Children in Marin's two largest cities have a higher rate of child obesity than the county as a whole, according to a new study released earlier this week.
The study, conducted by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, concluded that 32.4 percent of children living in San Rafael and 31.7 percent of children in Novato in 2010 were considered obese. Those figure stand in slight contrast to Marin County's overall childhood obesity rate of 24.9 percent, according to a November 2011 study from the same group.
The latest study analyzed over 250 cities. The statistics showed discrepancies in many cities based on the location’s wealth. San Rafael and Novato were the only cities in Marin County studied.
The data was compiled using the California Department of Education’s 2010 California Physical Fitness Test results for fifth, seventh and ninth grade students. Rates were reported for incorporated cities with populations of at least 20,000 and with fitness tests reporting of at least 70 percent.
Mill Valley School District students outperformed the state average on the annual fitness test. About 46 percent of Mill Valley fifth graders met all fitness criteria - well above the state's 25.2 percent and 41 percent of local seventh graders, higher than the state average of 32 percent. Marin students also outpaced the state average on the test, with about 41 percent of the county's fifth-graders meeting all fitness criteria and 46 percent of Marin's ninth-graders doing the same. The categories were aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extension strength, upper-body strength and flexibility.
California’s overall child obesity rate was 38 percent, however the study found some cities were as low as 11 percent, like in Manhattan Beach, and others climbed up to 53 percent, like Huntington Park.