Health
Children Who are Overweight or Obese


Children Who are Overweight or Obese

What does this measure?

The share of children in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10 considered overweight according to the Body Mass Index. Children are considered overweight if their BMI is at or above the 85th percentile for their age and gender, and they are considered obese at or above the 95th percentile. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight.

Why is this important?

Overweight children are at greater risk for many health problems, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, breathing problems, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes, bone and joint problems. Overweight children and adolescents are also more likely to face social and psychological problems, such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem, and to be overweight as adults.

BMI-For-Age data is collected and reported annually part of the "Mass in Motion" initiative started in 2009 by the Massachusetts Department of Health in an effort to reduce the prevalence of overweight children across the state.

How is our county doing?

In 2017, 35% of Essex children were considered overweight. This was slightly higher than the state rate in 2017 and the same as 2011. Among individual school districts, Lawrence had the highest rate (46%) followed by Lynn and Salem (both at 43%). The lowest rates were in the Georgetown School District (15%) and the Hamilton-Wenham School District (18%).

How do we compare to similar counties?

In 2017, 28% of children in Middlesex, MA were considered overweight or obese, lower than Essex and a decrease from 31% in 2011. Figures for Lake, IL and Westchester, NY were not available.

Notes about the data

State and county figures are aggregated from school district level data and may not represent the total enrollment of students in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10, due to data suppression for confidentiality when low numbers of students are screened, or errors in data generation and reporting.

Children Who are Overweight or Obese
201120122013201420152017
Essex County, MA35%33%32%31%32%35%
Middlesex County, MA31%29%29%28%29%28%
Massachusetts32%32%32%31%32%32%
School Districts in Essex
Amesbury27%28%23%22%
Andover22%23%21%19%21%
Beverly32%32%35%34%33%
Danvers29%33%33%27%30%31%
Essex Agricultural Technical32%31%31%33%
Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical35%35%
Georgetown20%22%18%18%15%
Gloucester35%37%36%37%37%40%
Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical47%49%47%49%
Hamilton-Wenham25%17%13%15%13%18%
Haverhill39%39%40%37%40%41%
Hill View Montessori Charter Public30%25%
Ipswich17%21%17%19%21%26%
KIPP Academy Lynn Charter45%40%43%48%
Lawrence45%47%44%46%
Lawrence Family Development Charter52%49%41%55%49%
Lynn39%39%42%39%39%43%
Lynnfield31%26%23%27%26%
Manchester Essex Regional23%22%23%21%18%
Marblehead21%22%23%24%29%25%
Marblehead Community Charter Public37%27%25%
Masconomet22%21%21%20%
Methuen36%30%32%34%35%33%
Nahant26%
Newburyport28%28%24%29%23%30%
North Andover27%26%26%25%27%25%
North Shore Regional Vocational Technical44%44%37%38%
Peabody38%39%40%42%42%40%
Pentucket23%23%23%21%
River Valley Charter14%13%24%16%
Rockport23%26%20%29%27%30%
Salem37%37%39%43%40%43%
Salem Academy Charter35%38%41%
Saugus34%35%32%34%
Swampscott24%
Triton27%27%26%27%27%32%
Whittier Regional Vocational Technical42%42%40%38%42%

Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Notes: State and county figures aggregated from school district level data




Number of Children Who are Overweight or Obese
201120122013201420152017
Essex County, MA9,14110,73110,0228,7038,5989,299
Middlesex County, MA15,37416,35216,75616,63116,99614,827
Massachusetts65,57377,83077,02074,84076,66667,730
School Districts in Essex
Amesbury192174151133
Andover411417385289368
Beverly378402372444434
Danvers297365364291304316
Essex Agricultural Technical33333236
Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical8797
Georgetown84105777660
Gloucester333329307307299341
Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical152166153166
Hamilton-Wenham11010073807397
Haverhill842882836781695747
Hill View Montessori Charter Public2722
Ipswich102939811189139
KIPP Academy Lynn Charter38697498
Lawrence1,9741,7261,2881,670
Lawrence Family Development Charter91827110896
Lynn1,5321,4901,6211,7201,6351,896
Lynnfield201180161164170
Manchester Essex Regional1031021039767
Marblehead192224221192278234
Marblehead Community Charter Public312522
Masconomet273249253242
Methuen733581640590600624
Nahant15
Newburyport198183165187162178
North Andover377360384360365372
North Shore Regional Vocational Technical53504844
Peabody670719661677696583
Pentucket199209195161
River Valley Charter14122715
Rockport677556877784
Salem522442491521496527
Salem Academy Charter343845
Saugus301297265280
Swampscott165
Triton238242215211224229
Whittier Regional Vocational Technical109128118112141

Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Notes: State and county figures aggregated from school district level data




INDICATORS TREND | ESSEX COUNTY
Prevalence of Overweight Adults Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Preterm Births Increasing
Infant Mortality Rate Maintaining
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Child Abuse and Neglect Increasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Youth Arrests Decreasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employment Maintaining
Tourism Spending Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Charitable Contributions Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Days with Good Air Quality Increasing
Beach Contamination Increasing
Daily Water Use per Resident Decreasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Crimes Against Property Decreasing
Drug-Related Arrests Maintaining
Reports of Domestic Violence Increasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Recidivism Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
People 65 or Older Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Households by Type Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Gender Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Total Jobs Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Increasing
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Median Earnings by Occupation by Gender Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County for Work Not Applicable
Employer Size Not Applicable
Self-Employment Revenue Increasing
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Female Enrollment in School Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
Per-Student Spending Increasing
Bullying Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Income in Relation to Poverty Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Rate by Household Type Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Households Receiving Federal Food Assistance Decreasing
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Earned Income Tax Credit Participation Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students Increasing
Median Home Value Increasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Homeownership Rates Maintaining
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeless Persons Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Medical Care Expenses Increasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma Maintaining
Prevalence of Overweight Children Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence Decreasing
Chronic Disease Among Older Adults Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Cancer Mortality Rate Decreasing
Heart Disease Mortality Rate Decreasing
Mortality Rate Decreasing
People who Smoke Not Applicable
Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Youth Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Not Applicable
Drug Overdose Mortality Rate Increasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Suicide Rate Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable