California’s getting bigger

Study finds a high rate of obesity in the Golden State

Nearly a quarter of people in California were obese in 2011-12, according to a study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The rate of obesity—24.8 percent—rose considerably from 19.3 percent a decade earlier, according to the report. However, the researchers found that obesity remained constant, at a rate of 17 percent, among Californians ages 12 to 17. Obesity is defined as a body mass index of 30 or greater.

The study's summary notes that obesity disproportionately affects people of color and the poor, linking the disease to environmental factors such as “accessibility and affordability of fresh produce, neighborhood safety, park availability and social cohesion.”

“Can you get fresh vegetables nearby?” asked the study's lead author, Joelle Wolstein. “If not, can you get to the store? Is there a safe place to exercise nearby?”