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L.A. County doing worse than N.Y.C. in childhood obesity fight

Children participate in a morning exercises at Madison Elementary School in Redondo Beach in September 2011. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County is falling behind New York City in its push to lower childhood obesity among poor children, according to new data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Childhood obesity rates rose from about 17% to 20% in L.A. County between 2003 and 2011 and dropped from 19% to 16% in New York City.

The study, released Thursday, was based on children aged 3 and 4 who were enrolled in a subsidized nutrition program for low-income families.

Researchers found that Latino children had the highest rates of obesity compared to blacks, whites and Asians. In Los Angeles County, the rates climbed until 2009 but then started declining.

The authors noted that public health officials in New York City began a targeted fight against childhood obesity -- with programs, policies and education messages -- earlier than L.A. County.


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Photo: Children participate in morning exercises at Madison Elementary School in Redondo Beach in September 2011. According to a new study, Los Angeles County is falling behind New York City in pushing down childhood obesity rates among poor children. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times

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