State to Release First Public Schools Obesity Report Today

JUNE 3, 2004 - Posted at  7:40 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas is due to release its first report on obesity in public schools today.

It will be released at a national conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, where Governor Huckabee is to be honored for promoting healthy living after shedding 105 pounds.

Huckabee is defending Arkansas' body mass index screenings of children against charges the practice pokes the government's nose into private lives.

On his statewide radio call-in show yesterday, a caller complained about the Body Mass Index law, passed last year and requiring public schools to work up annual body mass index, using height, weight and age, to indicate the body fat of each student.

Huckabee responded that people have a right to be overweight and unhealthy, but they also should be willing to bear the responsibility.

He says health studies have branded Arkansas one of the unhealthiest states in the country, and the potential cost of overweight youngsters in the future could greatly affect taxpayers.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)