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Problem of Obesity in Alameda County

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Obesity is defined as excess fat in an individual’s body or as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2018) defines it as a BMI equal to or greater than 30. Obesity increase the likelihood of health conditions including type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. According to the CDC (2018) the prevalence of obesity was 18. 5% and affected around 13. 7 million children and teenagers (ages 2-17). Many of the cities stated in Alameda County that have a high prevalence of obesity are the lower socioeconomic neighborhoods in: Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro, Union City, and Fremont. Piedmont Unified School District has the lowest rate of students being overweight compared to San Leandro Unified School District. “The highest levels of obesity in Alameda county are Pacific Islanders (31. 0%), following Hispanics (26. 0%), American Indians (23. 7%), and African Americans (23. 2%) compared to the levels of obesity of Asians (8. 1%) and Whites (11. 1%), are the lowest”.

Priority Population

“Obesity rates are higher among minorities, especially among the Hispanic/Latino community” (Alameda County Department of Public Health, 2014). This program will focus on Hispanic children and adolescent aged 2 to 17 in the Alameda County. In Alameda County, approximately 17% of children are obese and approximately a quarter of Hispanics are obese. In Alameda County, a third of school-aged children are overweight or obese (Alameda County Department of Public Health, 2014). Overweight children have a greater chance than their counterparts to become obese as adults. In Alameda County, 17. 2% of school aged kids are overweight and 17. 5% are obese. “Obesity rates are higher among racial and ethnic minorities, Hispanic populations have a 42. 5% of obesity compared to the non-Hispanic whites at 32. 6%”.

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“The annual nationwide productive costs of obesity related incidences range from $3. 38 billion ($79 per obese individual) to $6. 38 billion ($132 per obese individual)”. The costs of obesity per year ranges from 147 to 210 billion per year. They also stated that obesity leads to workers being absent from work costing $4. 3 billion because of lowered productivity. The study shows that children under 19 years old costed more than normal or underweight children from medical cost like use of prescription drugs and hospital use. It is estimated that around $14 billion was spent on childhood obesity cases.


The health care cost and the loss of productivity relating to obesity has an estimated cost of 2. 2 billion. The same study estimated that the cost can increase up to around 26 percent if there isn’t change occurring. “In the years between 2013 and 2014, Alameda County allocated $653. 9 million to healthcare costs and $134. 7 million of the budget will be spent treating obesity-related incidences”. Behavioral Factors The parents play a huge role in children and adolescent consumption of food and beverages. The US Department of Health and Human Services (2018) recommends at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity for youths. “Two-thirds of teenagers participated in physical activity less than five times per week, with 13 percent not reaching an hour of physical activity on any days”. Latinos had higher rates of fast food and soda consumption than whites. A third of Alameda County children and two-thirds of Alameda County adolescents drinks at least one sugary beverage per day. “With this type of behavior, it can be adding up to a thousand calories per week to their diets from just sugary drinks”.

Environmental Factors


If the parents do not feel safe then it is most likely their children/adolescent will not feel safe, or isn’t allowed to be out of the house. Obesity prevalence was higher among adults who felt endangered in their neighborhood compared to adults who felt safe in their neighborhood. The likelihood of people in the community would participate in physical activity would be based on if they feel safe.


California adults who have little to none access to affordable fresh produce has a higher prevalence of obesity than their counterparts. Even if fresh produce was readily available, if it isn’t cost efficient, people will rather decide to consume fast food. More than a quarter of Latinos reported that fresh produce was not viable in their neighborhood. The Alameda County Department of Public Health (2014) found out through their study that neighborhoods lacked full service grocery stores or supermarkets making residents go with the convenient route of convenience stores. The nurses noted that convenience stores and vendors like food trucks and carts are in close proximity to schools providing easy accessibility to less nutritional foods. The nurses also noted that students are lacking education on nutrition; many students having stomach aches and headaches.


As stated by Alameda County Public Health Department (2014), the cities in Alameda County are passionate about promoting community health by finding the social and environmental factors to create change. Alameda County is still looking to improve and is looking at other states, and county’s laws that can decrease the cases of obesity. Some examples are, taxes on sugary drinks, portion size on sugary drinks, creating a healthier food retailer licensing ordinance, and higher nutrition standards for school meals.

The Alameda County Health Department has an money award called Alameda County healthy retailer demonstration project for the community organization that is able to design and implement a health program that can be replicated in Hayward, Ashland, Livermore, and Oakland. This project goal is to increase healthy food accessibility and to not have any unhealthy options available. Mobile vending regulation makes each city has a different chapter that is regulating mobile food vending. There are regulations from where they can be stationed; it cannot be near schools or public parks. There will be citations if these regulations are violated. According to Alameda County Resources Department (2018) these cities do not regulate the types of food sold by the mobile vendors.

The Hayward 2040 general plan is made to have a limit and regulation on new fast food restaurant and liquor stores near schools and parks. Have incentives for healthy food options and small grocery stores. Alameda County also has CALFresh Food Assistance that provides family with their nutritional needs and Food Banks that are dispersed all over the county.


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