San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and city health officials announced on Wednesday a huge decrease in Bexar County's obesity rate over a two-year period.
According to data presented by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, the obesity rate in San Antonio and Bexar County dropped from 35.1 percent to 28.5 percent between 2010 and 2012.
The state recorded an obesity rate average of 29.5 in 2012.
"Over the last few years, San Antonio has eclipsed the adult obesity rate of the state of Texas. And that is significant because I believe that is the first time that has happened in quite a while," Mayor Julian Castro said.
In addition, the statewide Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Surveys show an increase in the healthy weight proportion of the population from 31.2 percent to 35.4 percent.
While nearly all demographics showed improvement, the surveys showed greatest strides among middle class Hispanic with some post high school education. Residents 65 and older, however, showed obesity rates are actually on the rise, jumping from 31.1 percent to 34.7 percent.
Data was gathered at the beginning and end of a $15.6 million Communities Putting Prevention to Work obesity prevention grant. Castro and Metro Health credited the drop in obesity to special projects and initiatives created through the grant, including Siclovia, 108 salad bars in schools, ride-to-own bikes, Fitness in the Park classes, SPARKS parks and other shared-use facilities.
"People are getting more active and living healthier in San Antonio, whether it's walking, cycling or using our parks," Mayor Julián Castro was quoted in a press release. "We now have concrete evidence that our investments are paying off and positively impacting the health of our families and the overall quality of life in San Antonio."
The BRFSS survey was enhanced in San Antonio by tripling the standard sample size to more accurately show any changes over the time period of the CPPW grant. Nearly 1,500 people were surveyed by telephone in Bexar County in 2010 and 2012.