Health
Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2018


Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2018

What does this measure?

The share of students in grades 7-12 who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is at or above the 85th percentile for their age and gender. The index is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. Children are considered overweight if their BMI is at or above the 85th percentile for their age and gender, and they are considered obese at or above the 95th percentile.

Why is this important?

Overweight children are at greater risk for many health problems, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, breathing problems, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes, bone and joint problems. Overweight children and adolescents are also more likely to face social and psychological problems, such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem, and to be overweight as adults.

How is our county performing?

In 2018, 44% of Berks County students in grades 7-12 were either overweight or obese, which is above the state as a whole (37%). The county percentage was up 12 percentage points since 2009. Pennsylvania only had a 3 percentage point increase during the same period. Berks County had a slightly higher percentage of obese grade 7-12 students (21%) as the state (20%).

The percentage of overweight and obese grade 7-12 students in 2018 was lower than Berks in comparison counties. Schuylkill (41%) was closest. Lebanon (38%), Lehigh (36%), Lancaster (34%), Montgomery (31%) and Chester (29%) were all notably lower. Since 2009, Berks had the largest percentage point increase (12%) followed by Lancaster at 4 percentage points, Lebanon and Schuylkill at 3 percentage points, and Montgomery at 1 percentage point. Chester had a large decrease of 7 percentage points, while Lehigh declined by 4 percentage points.

Notes about the data

BMI data are collected and reported annually by public school entities to the Pennsylvania Department of Health which then publishes annual reports at the county level. This information is published separately for students in grades K-6 and 7-12 and cannot be aggregated and thus is reported separately here as well. Note that these are exclusive categories: obese students are not counted within the overweight category, and vice versa.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2018
CombinedObeseOverweight
Pennsylvania37%20%17%
Berks County44%21%23%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County29%13%17%
Lancaster County34%18%16%
Lebanon County38%21%17%
Lehigh County36%19%17%
Montgomery County31%16%15%
Schuylkill County41%24%16%

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health








Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2009
CombinedObeseOverweight
Pennsylvania34%17%16%
Berks County32%18%15%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County36%13%23%
Lancaster County30%15%15%
Lebanon County35%19%16%
Lehigh County40%16%24%
Montgomery County30%12%18%
Schuylkill County38%22%17%

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health








INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY