Obesity, diabetes, more prevalent among poor and less educated Californians

September 1, 2010

By Daniel Weintraub

The latest look at obesity and diabetes trends in California from the UCLA Center on Health Policy Research shows how closely the twin maladies are tied to income and education levels.

The report notes that more than a quarter (27.7 percent) of adults living below the poverty line are obese, compared to 19.6 percent of higher-income adults. Diabetes was also more prevalent among adults whose incomes are less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

The numbers for education levels are even more dramatic.

Adults with no more than an 8th grade education are twice as likely to be obese as those who graduated from college (30.3 percent versus 14.9 percent). And diabetes is three times as common among adults with no high school education (14.8 percent) as among those who graduated from college (5.1 percent).

The report suggests that the concentration of fast-food restaurants and relative scarcity of markets that sell fresh food are likely factors in leading to the disparities in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among the poor and lesser educated. Another factor: a lack of parks and open space.

See the full report here.

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