Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2016

Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2016

What does this measure?

The share of students in grades 7-12 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 2016, 38% of Berks County students in grades 7-12 were either overweight or obese, which was similar to the state as a whole (36%). The county percentage was up 6 percentage points since 2009. Pennsylvania only had a 2 percentage point increase during the same period. Berks County had a slightly higher percentage of obese grade 7-12 students (18%) as the state (17%).

The percentage of overweight and obese grade 7-12 students in 2016 was similar to Berks in Lebanon (37%), lower than Lancaster (34%) and much lower in Chester and Montgomery (both at 30%). Schuylkill (41%) had a larger percentage. Since 2009, Berks had the largest percentage point increase (6%) followed by Lancaster at 4 percentage points and Lebanon at 2 percentage points. Chester had a large decrease of 6 percentage points, Montgomery had no change in percentage, while Lehigh declined by 1 percentage point.

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.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2016
Berks County38%20%18%
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County30%15%15%
Lancaster County34%18%16%
Lebanon County37%21%16%
Lehigh County39%18%20%
Montgomery County30%15%15%
Schuylkill County41%24%17%

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Youth Who are Overweight or Obese, 2009
Berks County32%18%15%
Berks County Regions
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County36%13%23%
Lancaster County30%15%15%
Lebanon County35%19%16%
Lehigh County40%16%24%
Montgomery County30%12%18%
Schuylkill County38%22%17%

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Early Prenatal Care Increasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Change in Population by Age and Gender Maintaining
Change in Total Population by Race/Ethnicity Increasing
Population by Age and Race/Ethnicity Decreasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Change in Labor Force Decreasing
Employment to Population ratio Maintaining
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 Increasing
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Increasing
Public Assistance Maintaining
Spending for Local Governments Maintaining
Spending for Counties Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Quality Early Childhood Centers Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
English Language Learners Increasing
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 English Decreasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 English Increasing
Historically Underperforming Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Decreasing
Student Performance on High School English Decreasing
Student Performance on High School Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Maintaining
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Plans of High School Graduates Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Maintaining
Living Wage Maintaining
People Living in Poverty Increasing
Working Poor Maintaining
People Receiving Federal Food Assistance Increasing
People Enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Increasing
Physically Inactive Adults Not Applicable
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Students in 7-12 Overweight or Obese Increasing
Vacant Housing Units Increasing
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Housing Affordability for Homeowners by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Age of Housing Stock Decreasing
Single-Family Home Sales Increasing
Median Single-Family Home Sale Price Maintaining
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Decreasing
Voter Participation Rate Increasing
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Contributions as a Percentage of Income Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Increasing
Dams Not Applicable
Violent Crimes Maintaining
Property Crimes Decreasing
Incarceration Rates Maintaining
Drug Abuse Offenses Increasing
Drug Abuse Arrests Increasing
Protection from Domestic Abuse Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Maintaining
Average Travel Time to Work Increasing
Crashes Involving Alcohol Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Decreasing