Health
Children Who are Overweight or Obese, 2018


Children Who are Overweight or Obese, 2018

What does this measure?

The share of students in grades K-6 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, 33% of Berks County students in K-6 were either overweight or obese, which was similar to the state as a whole (32%). The county percentage was up 3 percentage points since 2009. Pennsylvania had no increase during the same period. Berks County had a slightly higher percentage of obese K-6 students (18%) than the state (16%).

The percentage of overweight and obese K-6 students in 2018 was smaller than Berks in Chester (25%), Montgomery (28%), Lancaster (30%), and Lehigh (32%). Schuylkill (38%) and Lebanon (37%) had higher percentages. Since 2009, compared to Berks' 3% increase, Chester and Lehigh declined by 1%, Lancaster increased by 1%, Schuylkill increased by 2%, Lebanon increased by 3%, and Montgomery stayed the same.

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.

Children Who are Overweight or Obese, 2018
CombinedObeseOverweight
Pennsylvania32%16%16%
Berks County33%18%15%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County25%11%14%
Lancaster County30%15%14%
Lebanon County37%20%17%
Lehigh County32%17%15%
Montgomery County28%14%14%
Schuylkill County38%21%16%

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health








Children Who are Overweight or Obese, 2009
CombinedObeseOverweight
Pennsylvania32%17%15%
Berks County30%17%14%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County26%12%15%
Lancaster County29%15%15%
Lebanon County34%18%16%
Lehigh County33%17%16%
Montgomery County28%14%14%
Schuylkill County36%21%16%

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health








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