New Britain’s youth are overweight, according to the latest study from the New Britain Health Department and School District Wellness Committee.
“The health department did a groundbreaking study,” said Dr. Aram Ayalon, school board and committee member. “They sampled Kindergarten, 6th grade and 9th grade throughout the district which is 25 percent of the students.”
Of the Kindergartners 32 percent were overweight, 45 percent for 6th graders and 48 percent for 9th graders.
“That is just shocking,” said Ayalon. “Nationally it is closer to 30 percent. They are at risk to becoming sick. I hope we as a district need take long term measures to deal with this issue.”
Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, school board president, said the study was two years in the making.
“The health department received a grant,” said Saavedra. “It’s a very interesting study. It’s cheaper and easier to go to McDonald’s and buy off the dollar menu than it is to go and shop for healthy foods.”
Overall, a higher percentage of males than females were classified as obese.
Among the 1,122 Hispanics, 596 (53.1 percent) were of healthy weight, 201 (17.9 percent) were overweight, and 287 (25.6 percent) were obese. Of the 243 Black students not of Hispanic origin, 144 (59.3 percent) were of healthy weight, 40 (16.5 percent) were overweight, and 50 (20.6 percent) were obese. Among the 301 students classified as White non—Hispanics, 174 (57.8 percent) were of healthy weight, 63 (20.9 percent) were overweight, and 57 (18.9 percent) were obese. Among the 314 students of unknown race/ethnicity, 169 (53.8 percent) were of healthy weight, 52 (16.6 percent) were overweight, and 73 (23.2 percent were obese. Among the 110 students who were classified as other, 60 (54.5%) were of healthy weight, 19 (17.3 percent) were overweight, and 23 (20.9 percent) were obese.
Health and dental insurance coverage was documented at 1,379 (67.8 percent) and 1,297 (63. percent) of the 2,034 persons in the sample, respectively. Analysis demonstrated that 1,317 (64.7 percent) students had health insurance coverage and 1,213 (59.6 percent) had dental instance coverage. For 655 (32 percent) students, health insurance coverage was unknown. For 737 (36.2 percent) of all students, dental insurance status was unknown.
The report also showed that there were 579 students with asthma. Of that 246 were in Kindergarten, 203 were in sixth grade, and 130 were in ninth grade.