Nearly 30 percent of Travis County students would be considered overweight or obese, according to an analysis of recent school district data by the city of Austin.
Health experts say childhood obesity puts children at risk for a variety of physical challenges, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory and orthopedic problems, and menstruation issues.
Austin Public Health, which analyzed data from the 2013-14 school year, published its findings in the latest edition of the Travis County Medical Society Journal.
The study found that 28.1 percent of students, from third-graders to high school seniors, were considered overweight or obese as determined by their age and body mass index.
Among other key findings:
- The prevalence of overweight and obese among girls was 27.5 percent, which was slightly lower than among boys, which was 28.5 percent.
- About 31.7 percent of high school students and 31.5 percent of elementary school students were overweight or obese, which was higher than the 22.8 percent rate among middle school students.
- When the study compared school districts in Travis County, the data indicated a correlation between the percentage of students who were overweight or obese, and the percentage of students in the district with economic disadvantage. The district with the lowest obesity rates, Eanes ISD with 9.6 percent, also had the lowest percentage of students with economic disadvantage, 3 percent. Meanwhile, the district with the highest obesity rates, Del Valle ISD with 38.1 percent, also had the highest rate of students identified as economically disadvantaged, 86 percent.