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

Weekly Flu Report, January 20, 2017 posted on Jan 20

The latest weekly flu report indicates that rates of flu-like illness increased slightly over the past seven days. We’ve seen these rates head up and down over the past few weeks, which is an indication of how unpredictable flu can be. Here in New England, most flu   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, January 20, 2017

Folic Acid for the Future! posted on Jan 18

Folic Acid for the Future!

We all know the common New Year’s resolutions this time of year: losing weight, getting more organized and catching up on sleep are at the top of many people’s lists!  But chances are, many women, in particular, are overlooking an important addition to their list:   …Continue Reading Folic Acid for the Future!

Weekly Flu Report, January 13, 2017 posted on Jan 13

The latest weekly flu report shows a slight decrease in rates of flu-like illness in Massachusetts over the past 7 days. But flu can be unpredictable, and we’re not likely to see the peak of flu season until February or even March. So if you haven’t gotten a   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, January 13, 2017