School District’s Obesity Fight Shows Progress

The Chula Vista Elementary School District continues to gain ground in the fight against childhood obesity. 

On Wednesday, officials released the most recent data from the district’s ongoing health and wellness initiative, which includes measuring the height and weight of every preschool through sixth grade student in the district. Since launching the initiative in 2010, there has been a 5 percent decrease in the number of students in the unhealthy weight category, which includes being overweight or obese.

The results, drawn from 2014 data, are being celebrated not only as a success for the school district, but as a strong indication that the community’s focus on health and safety is paying off.

“This is Live Well San Diego in action,” said Supervisor Greg Cox, County Board of Supervisors, referring to the County vision for healthy, safe and thriving communities. “Our schools are focusing on health and wellness for students, and we are working with community partners to engage residents in healthy activities and to make their communities safer.”

The Chula Vista Elementary School District is the largest elementary school district in California with 45 schools serving approximately 29,000 students. It was the first district to partner with the County on Live Well San Diego and is active in a number of health-related programs and coalitions in the Chula Vista community.

“We know that these positive changes cannot be attributed to a single factor, but multiple influences and efforts that align with the goal of creating healthy school environments and healthy and safe communities,” said Dr. Francisco Escobedo, superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

While the 5 percent decrease is across the district, some schools saw larger gains. Harborside Elementary School, for example, has 9 percent fewer obese students from 2010.

The event was held at Harborside Park in Chula Vista, which is also a success story in supporting a heathier and safer community. The park had been a spot for illegal activity. But new fencing is being installed, and land donated by the Chula Vista Costco is making the park more inviting for outdoor recreation.

“Revitalizing Harborside Park has been a team effort by a number of partners who have a shared commitment to ensuring the park remains a safe place for children, families, and the community,” said Kristi McClure Huckaby, director of Recreation, City of Chula Vista. “A safe park provides the ability for people to enjoy recreational activities to foster health and well-being for all.”

The County Board of Supervisors launched Live Well San Diego in 2010 with the goal of achieving healthy, safe and thriving communities across the region by partnering with community and city leaders, schools, businesses, non-profit organizations and residents. Chula Vista is home to a thriving Live Well community network that is showing positive results.

“There is great power in collaboration, and the reality is that we can do more together than we can ever do alone,” said Nick Macchione, Director of the County Health and Human Services Agency. “We want to recognize the importance of the roles that we all play in making our communities healthy, safe and thriving.” 

Craig Sturak is a group communications officer with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact