UNION — A year-long effort by the Union County School District to collect Body Mass Index data on students in the first, third and fifth grades has determined that, depending on the grade, one-third to as many as one-half of those students are overweight or obese.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the district announced that over the course of the 2012-2013 school, the schools had collected BMI data for every first, third, and fifth grade student. The statement described BMI as “a measure used to determined childhood overweight and obesity and is calculated using a child’s weight and height. To promote consistency from school to school, staff were provided with similar scales and trained to use specific protocols to measure height and
The data was collected in order to determine the scope of the problem of obesity in the school district which the report states had been lacking until now.
“Public health officials and children’s health advocates are aware that the rising rate of obesity is a major threat for our children. However, a lack of local-level data has made it difficult to determine the exact scope of the problem in Union County.”
The announcement states that the key findings from the data include:
• 37.6 percent of first grade students are obese or overweight
• 47.4 percent of third grade students are obese or overweight
• 50 percent of fifth grade students are obese or overweight
According to Mike McGee, Physical Education Teacher with Union County School District,
“Obesity can have harmful effects on children now and well into the future,” Mike McGee, physical education teacher with the district said. “This report gives us great data that our community can use. This data will allow us to establish trends over time so that we can evaluate the impacts of our actions to reduce childhood obesity.”
The Union County School District worked closely with DHEC on the report.
Electronic copies of the report are available to the public. Please contact Kim Petty at 864-429-1740 to request an electronic copy.
For more information, contact Mike McGee at 864-429-1730.