By testing students at the middle school age doors can be opened for additional teaching and an increased awareness of what constitutes a healthy body and makes students and parents more aware of the risk factors.of high high blood pressure and obesity.
Permission letters were sent to 1,024 students. Only 30 students opted out of the screenings.
Statistics provided by the students showed childhood overweight comparisons. Nationwide 16.5% are overweight. School District 9 had 34% of their middle school students classified as overweight.
Last year Eagle Point Middle School and White Mountain Middle School were screened for blood pressure and body mass. A comparison of 2008 with 2009 follows:
EPMS- Four percent fewer students were in the overweight or obese (BMI) category. In 2008, the BMI was 34% while in 2009, it was 30%. Blood pressure remained unchanged both years and showed 19% of the students with above normal blood pressure.
WMMS- Three percent fewer students were in the overweight or obsese (BMI) category. In 2008, the BMI was 44% , while in 2009, it was 41%. Blood pressure was two points higher in 2009, and went from 18% in 2008 to 20% in 2009.
Both EPMS and SCMS were in the 85th percentile for their BMI. The 85th to 95th percentile is considered overweight, but 85 percent is the breaking point between healthy and overweight. The blood pressure for both schools was in the 90th percentile. Again, that is a breaking point between normal (one year re-check) and pre-hypertension (re-check in six months.
There is no record in 2008 for Shady Cove. Following is the 2009 baseline: The BMI was 32% and above normal blood pressure was found in 23% of the students. The BMI for Shady Cove was also at the 85th percentile as was the blood pressure.
The BMI for children includes weight, height, gender and age. BMI equals weight divided by height. It is then compared against a national norm for gender and age to determine a BMI percentile.
Childhood obesity increases the risk of developing a number of problems such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, respiratory problems, orthopedic complications, depression and behavioral problems.
The nurses gave several recommendations to effectively reduce BMI. These include involvement at the school and parent level, annual BMI and blood pressure screenings, providing every student with a medical home, helping students and families improve healthy lifestyle.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent