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Study: 75 percent of Fox Valley adults are overweight

Study: 75 percent of Fox Valley adults are overweight

NEENAH – Bad news, Fox Valley: We’re in even worse shape than we thought. 

New findings from Weight of the Fox Valley show that about 75 percent of Fox Valley adults are overweight or obese. That’s a big jump from the previous figure of 64 percent reported in 2015.

A significant reason for the change is better data. The 2015 figure was determined through self-reported height and weight measurements. The new data is the result of actual measurements by health care professionals. 

The details of the Weight of the Fox Valley initiative’s latest study were presented Friday morning at the Bridgewood Conference Center in Neenah.

These figures are based on body mass index, or BMI. An adult’s BMI is found using height and weight measurements and the results correlate with body fat. 

An adult with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered at normal weight. A BMI of between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight and 30 or greater qualifies as obese. It’s an imperfect way to gauge the body fat of an individual, but is widely seen as the standard for measuring large populations. 

The new data also indicates that 28 percent of youth in the Fox Valley are overweight or obese.

Being overweight or obese can lead to a variety of serious health problems including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. Excess weight can affect mental health and self-esteem, and in the long run, added health care costs.

The new data are the result of a collaborative effort between the Ascension, Aurora and ThedaCare health systems, which gathered measurements of about 91,000 adults (whose identities were removed). 

The self-reported data came from a group of about 1,600 adults who were randomly selected and were asked questions about their health over the phone. 

Weight of the Fox Valley is a community health initiative within Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties spearheaded by the United Way in the Fox Cities and Oshkosh. Launched in 2013, it brought together a coalition of hospitals and health care systems, governments, businesses, nonprofits and philanthropic organizations hoping to promote healthy eating and exercise.

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