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Merced County has a childhood obesity problem. Want to do something about it?

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Merced County has a childhood obesity problem. Want to do something about it?

Picture of Vikaas Shanker

This story was reported as part of a project for the 2018 Data Fellowship, a program of USC Anneberg's Center for Health Journalism.

(Graphic: McClatchy)
(Graphic: McClatchy)
Merced Sun-Star
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Data shows children in Merced County are three times more likely to be obese than the average California kid.

Also, one out of every four children between the ages of 5 and 12 in Merced County are obese, according to a 2016 assessment.

Childhood obesity issues can compound health problems and lead to serious health problems later in life, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Those include Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, breathing disorders, sexual dysfunctions and metabolic syndrome, along with psychological effects including depression, social isolation and lower work achievement.

Why are Merced County’s kids more vulnerable than other California children? And what can Merced County parents do to give their children the best chance at a healthy future?