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

Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) & Climate Change posted on Jun 23

The Environmental Toxicology Program in the Bureau of Environmental Health has developed a climate assessment approach that leverages the combined resources of the Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) tool and the CDC Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework. The approach actively engages stakeholders   …Continue Reading Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) & Climate Change

Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times posted on Jun 15

Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr. What do we do when horrible things happen? A tragedy like what happened at Orlando’s LGBTQ Pulse nightclub is so   …Continue Reading Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times

Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description posted on Jun 13

Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description

POP QUIZ: Deli slicers – How hard can they be to use? Everyone seems to have story about someone being cut at work while using a deli slicer*. If you don’t have one yourself, ask a friend or colleague—they almost certainly do. And more often   …Continue Reading Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description