Big study of childhood obesity shows 40% of New York City students are too heavy
A shocking number of young city students are overweight or obese - with about half the youngsters in some zip codes tipping the scales too heavily, a new city report shows.
In the largest study of childhood obesity ever conducted in the city, 40% of kindergartners through eighth-graders - more than 250,000 kids - were found to be too heavy.
Officials say even though the data seem startling, the rate of obesity in city kids is actually flat-lining, while it's rising nationwide.
"While it would be great if we saw the numbers go down, it is encouraging that they're holding steady," said Laurie Benson, executive director of the Department of Education's Office of School Wellness, refering to previous studies with smaller sample sizes.
The report, based on Fitnessgram assessments of more than 635,000 kids in eighth grade or lower, showed wide variation in obesity levels throughout different neighborhoods.
In the upper West Side zip code of 10069, less than 12% of kids were found to be obese or overweight. But in Corona's 11368, a shocking 51% of kids were found to be too heavy.
"I'm not surprised," said Corona mom Leslie Rivera, 34, whose 7-year-old son, George, is entering the second grade at Public School 13. "There's so much fast food around here."
Gabriella Mendoza, 39, while dining with her 6- year-old son Kevin at a Corona McDonald's, said she tries to carefully control his eating - but it's not always easy. "Sometimes I bring him here, but not often because I know it's too much calories," Mendoza said.
Sep 07, 2010