Post Content

Posted by Laura York

Laura is the Director of the Coordinated School Health Program

 

A key component of Mass in Motion includes a Public Health Council regulation passed in 2009 requiring public schools to measure the height and weight of students in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10 and use those figures to calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI is a method of determining if a child has a healthy weight compared to other children of the same age and sex. 

The first year of data is now available in a newly released report, The Status of Childhood Weight in Massachusetts 2011, that includes data from the public school districts that submitted BMI results for the 2010-2011 school year. In total, screenings were performed on 250,000 students.  This report reflects only one year of state-wide data which, while not adequate to establish trends, forms a picture of current obesity rates necessary to track future changes.

We know that helping children attain a healthy weight now, and stay at a healthy weight, may prevent serious illness later in life. Children with a high BMI are more likely to become overweight or obese adults and be at a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The first step is to understand the status of childhood obesity. 

We are extremely grateful to our partners in the public schools for enabling us to collect this data.  Establishing a baseline and tracking trends over time will help ensure we are implementing effective strategies to reduce obesity rates in Massachusetts.

Even if a child falls within a healthy BMI range, it is important for him to learn and develop healthy eating and physical activity habits.  Besides improving health, physical activity is strongly linked to academic performance as shown in recent national evidence.

Check out the many suggestions on how to eat better and move more for all age groups, including specific tips for parents on the Mass in Motion site.  For more information about BMI screening in schools, please visit our School Health Screening page.

 

Written By:

Recent Posts

Bed Bugs: What You Need to Know posted on Sep 22

Bed Bugs: What You Need to Know

It’s September, a month when students move into dorms and apartments, used furniture moves out onto the sidewalk – and unfortunately, when bed bugs can become an issue. As a health educator in the Bureau of Environmental Health, I get lots of calls this month   …Continue Reading Bed Bugs: What You Need to Know

3 Steps to Keep Crossing Guards Safe posted on Sep 19

3 Steps to Keep Crossing Guards Safe

Now that school is back in session, many drivers have noticed changes to their commute. Has your drive into work become more congested with additional cars and pedestrians?  Some of these pedestrians are crossing guards, helping local children arrive to school safely.   Did you know   …Continue Reading 3 Steps to Keep Crossing Guards Safe

Say Sepsis and Save Lives posted on Sep 18

Say Sepsis and Save Lives

Sepsis Awareness Month shines the spotlight on sepsis, a serious complication that affects thousands of people in the United States every year. During the month of September, we encourage you to learn more about sepsis, including the symptoms, risk factors, and steps you can take   …Continue Reading Say Sepsis and Save Lives