Post Content

Laura YorkPosted by:
Laura York, Department of Public Health 

 Laura is the Director of the Coordinated School Health Program

When kids are healthy, they’re able to learn more and do better in school. Yet almost one-third of Massachusetts high school and middle school students are either overweight or obese.  Public schools across the state are doing their part to help reverse this alarming statistic.

Massachusetts public schools have been measuring the height and weight of students for years.  Starting this school year, schools will take it one step further by using these figures to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) of students in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10 and report the results to parents.  BMI is a way to check if a child has a healthy weight compared to other children of the same age and sex.  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.  In addition to health concerns, researchers have found that childhood obesity is associated with a number of social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem. BMI FAQs

BMI results, along with educational materials, will be sent or directly communicated to the parents or guardians of each student screened.  Parents will be encouraged to share the results with their health care provider and start a conversation about the best ways for their child to reach and stay at a healthy weight.  Dealing with overweight and obesity early in life is easier than tackling it later on as an adult. 

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.

Schools can help address this issue by providing high-quality health and physical education, physical activity programs and healthy food options on all school grounds. However, schools are only part of the solution.  Parents and communities can also contribute by setting a healthy example for our future generation.  Check out lots of suggestions on how to eat better and move more for all age groups, including specific tips for parents on the Mass in Motion site. 

Share on Facebook.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Exposure to Radon Increases Your Risk for Lung Cancer posted on Jul 13

Exposure to Radon Increases Your Risk for Lung Cancer

Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless radioactive gas. Radon is created when naturally occurring elements such as uranium and radium in rocks and soil break down during a process called radioactive decay. Once radon is emitted, it migrates upwards to the ground surface through   …Continue Reading Exposure to Radon Increases Your Risk for Lung Cancer

Highlights of the July 12th Public Health Council Meeting posted on Jul 12

This month’s meeting of the PHC featured an implementation update related to a current Determination of Need project, a vote on final regulations, and an informational presentation from DPH staff for Council members. First, the Council received an implementation update from Boston Children’s Hospital on   …Continue Reading Highlights of the July 12th Public Health Council Meeting

Keeping Cool and Staying Healthy During Extreme Heat posted on Jul 12

Keeping Cool and Staying Healthy During Extreme Heat

Temperatures this week in Massachusetts have been relatively normal for this time of year. Even so, we know that most summers in New England will bring about at least some extremely hot days. In fact, extreme heat events are one of the most common causes   …Continue Reading Keeping Cool and Staying Healthy During Extreme Heat