Report: Drop in Auburn youth obesity tied to public health investments

For the Reporter

New findings published recently by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show youth obesity dropped in low-income school districts that were part of a King County-focused obesity prevention initiative.

The Auburn School District participated from 2010-2012 with a Commit to Fit campaign.

The report shows a 17-percent decline in youth obesity in King County after Public Health – Seattle & King County partnered with schools and community organizations to implement a two-year Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) obesity prevention initiative.

The Commit to Fit Campaign galvanized students to eat healthier foods and be more active.

"We saw the entire district get involved in various ways with the initiative. We had over 6,000 students track their nutrition and physical activity changes," said Auburn High School teacher Lori Jacobs.

While youth obesity rates fell significantly in CPPW initiative school districts, (Auburn, Highline, Kent, Northshore, Renton, Seattle and Tukwila) rates remained the same in districts not involved in the initiative and were also unchanged in the rest of the state.

By increasing healthy food choices and opportunities for physical activity such as improving the quality of physical education, the initiative boosted healthy habits for middle and high school students. These results have promising implications for statewide and national strategies to improve community health.

Statewide, obesity and overweight rates for 10th graders have remained steady for the past decade. The state's Healthy Youth Survey found that about 23 percent of 10th graders are overweight or obese.

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