YONKERS, N.Y. – In one of America’s leanest states, Yonkers is holding its own.
With an adult obesity rate below 25 percent, New York is the eighth slimmest state in the country, according to a recent study by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Meanwhile, Yonkers has nothing to hang its head about, scoring a B rating from Men’s Health in a city-by-city look at obesity rates earlier this year. Researchers said monitoring obesity is important because it has contributed to a “stunning” rise in chronic disease rates and health care costs in recent years.
“It is one of the biggest health crises the country has ever faced,” Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, said in a news release.
In its state-by-state breakdown of obesity, researchers ranked New York 42nd in obesity rates, tied with Connecticut and Nevada.
And out of 100 cities studied nationwide, Yonkers came in at 79 (one being the most obese, 100 being the leanest), scoring better than the likes of New York City and Buffalo. Researchers ranked the cities based on a number of factors including the percentage of people who are overweight and the money spent on junk food.
The findings continued a lean trend for Yonkers, which was ranked as the seventh fittest city for children in an earlier study by Men’s Health Magazine.
“Some cities and states that have taken comprehensive action to address the epidemic are beginning to see declines in their obesity rates,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “But we need to expand and intensify our efforts. Investing in prevention today will mean a healthier tomorrow for our children.”
Yonkers Public School administrators said they are trying to do just that, partnering with the Teacher’s College at Columbia University to implement an online social network that is designed to help students learn about nutrition and childhood obesity.
The district has also promoted increased physical education and the eating of healthy foods. Teachers have handed out a “healthy celebration/party” suggestion list – raisins, applesauce and fruits or vegetables – for parents.
“The district encourages parents to be informed and involved with promoting a lifestyle of good health and full activity for their families,” administrator’s write in Yonkers Public Schools’ Wellness Policy.