Youth obesity — a bigger problem in NJ than in many other states
Just last month, Townsquare Media New Jersey reported that the Garden State boasts one of the lowest adult obesity rates in the nation.
With numbers released Thursday by a New Jersey-based nonprofit, it's now apparent the state does not fare as well when it comes to our children.
The 2017-2018 rate of obesity among New Jersey residents aged 10 to 17 is 15%, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That's slightly below the U.S. average, but ranks as 22nd best nationwide.
The rate is at 12% or lower in 12 states, including nation-leading Utah at 8.7%.
New Jersey's rate is the third highest among all states in the Northeast. Pennsylvania presents the region's highest rate, 17.4%.
"Nationwide, 4.8 million young people ages 10 to 17 — so that's roughly 1 in 7 — have obesity," said Jamie Bussel, senior program officer at the foundation. "This rate has held relatively steady over the last few years, but we are still seeing deep and persistent disparities."
Black and Hispanic youth are more likely to have obesity than their white and Asian counterparts, for example. Youth from low-income families are also more likely to be obese compared to those in families who are better off financially, the numbers show.
No states saw significant changes in their rates between 2016 and 2017-18.
A report released in September by Trust for America's Health noted New Jersey's adult obesity rate of 25.7% is the fourth lowest nationwide when including Washington, D.C.
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