October 2, 2003 - Posted at: 3:19 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Plans to measure the body mass index of Arkansas public school students are moving forward.
Joe Thompson of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement says pilot programs in six schools will be starting in the coming weeks. They will fine-tune practices for screening all students for weight problems.
Thompson says the department hopes to start the program statewide by January or February.
A law approved by the Legislature this year requires the state's public schools to provide parents with an annual report of their children's body mass-index, a measure that helps screen for weight problems.
State officials say more than 60 percent of adults in Arkansas are overweight or obese, and 25 percent of the state's high school students are at risk of being overweight or are overweight.