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2017-2018 Border Health Status Report to the Legislature


The California border region, like the rest of the state, has experienced an increase in obesity rates, particularly in the Latino population. Obesity is associated with various health risks, including some of the leading causes of death, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. Various behavioral, societal and environmental factors are associated with obesity, such as caloric intake, physical inactivity, education and genetics (CDC, 2017). The most common estimator of body fat is the body mass index (BMI) measure. For adults, a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 kg/m2 is categorized as overweight, and a BMI between 30.0 and 39.9 kg/m2 is categorized as overweight or obese (NIH, n.d.).

Data for adults from 2016-2017 indicated the prevalence of obesity in San Diego County to be 23%, whereas the percent of obesity in Imperial County was 39%. This level more than doubled when overweight and obesity were combined; the level for San Diego County increased to 58%, and that for Imperial increased to 76%. Neither county met the Healthy People 2020 objective for healthy weight among adults, which aims to increase the percent of adults at a healthy weight to above 30.5%. The rate of obesity in California was similar to that in San Diego County and was lower than that in Imperial County (Fig. 2.1) (CHIS, 2016-2017).

Differences by race/ethnicity existed among obese adults in the California border region. The Latino population had a consistently higher rate of obesity than the White population. In San Diego County, 33% of the Latino population was obese, as compared with only 20% of the White population. Meanwhile, in Imperial County, 41% of the Latino population was obese, as compared with 27% of the White population. The same findings were true for California statewide (Fig. 2.2) (CHIS, 2016-2017).  ​

Compared with females, males had a greater proportion of obesity in San Diego County, Imperial County and California. This trend was more apparent in Imperial County, where 44% of males were obese, as compared with 32% of females. San Diego County had a lower rate of obesity than California, for both males and females (Fig. 2.3) (CHIS, 2016-2017).  ​​
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