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Obesity & Physical Activity in Los Angeles County


The prevalence of obesity among adults residing in Los Angeles County appears to be increasing. Between 1997 and 2002, the prevalence of obesity increased from 14.3% to 19.3%.  This translates to about 1,195,000 adults. An additional one-third (35%) of Los Angeles County adults are overweight. This increase was observed in both men and women and in the four major race/ethnic groups.

Prevalence of Obesity1 Among Adults Age 18 Years and Older
By Race/Ethnicity
Los Angeles County

Ethnic Group

Percent in 2002 Percent in 1999 Percent in 1997
Total 29% 17% 14%
White 16% 15% 12%
Latino 24% 20% 17%
African American 31% 24% 22%
Asian/Pacific Islander 6% 6% 4%

1 Defined as body mass index of 30 and greater.

Obesity by Sex in Los Angeles County Adults - 2002

Gender Number Percent
Male 618,000 20%
Female 577,000 19%

Obesity by Age Group in Los Angeles County Adults - 2002

Age Group Number Percent
18-24 91,000 11%
25-29 116,000 18%
30-39 268,000 20%
40-49 278,000 23%
50-59 195,000 22%
60-64 97,000 32%
65 or over 149,000 16%



In 1999, only 39% of adults in Los Angeles County met recommended national guidelines for physical activity. Of the 61% who were not meeting these guidelines, two-thirds were sedentary and one-third engaged in only irregular activity. Women (49%) were more likely to be sedentary than men (33%).

Percentage of Adults Not Meeting Physical Activity Guidelines
By Race/Ethnicity
Los Angeles County, 1999

Ethnic Group

Irregular Physical Activity Sedentary
White 18% 37%
Latino 21% 46%
African American 19% 40%
Asian/Pacific Islander 24% 41%

According to the California Behavioral Risk Factor Survey - 1995, 20% of men and 23% of women in California did no exercise outside of work.

Source of all information above: Los Angeles County Dept. of Health Services



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