Body Mass Index Results Are In From Arkansas Public Schools

May 3, 2004 -- Posted at 10:00 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-- Arkansas is a trailblazer in the fight against obesity. Last year Gov. Huckabee and the General Assembley passed Act 1220. This Act mandates all public school children to have their body mass index or "BMI" checked. The BMI assesment helps to determine if a child is overweight.

No other state has ever done an analysis of childhood obesity on this large of a scale. The epidemic of childhood obesity may be worse than expected judging by the data collected from all Arkansas students in grades K-12. The initial statistics show that 40% of Arkansas students are either overweight or at risk of being overweight. According to their body mass index calculated through a formula that takes a persons' height, weight, age, and gender into consideration. "This may be the first generation of children to die before their parents because of diabetes development" says Dr. Barry Tedder. These findings are raising red flags for the state because overweight children and adolescence are 50% - 80% more likely to become obese adults. Each parent is being asked to take notice of where their child falls on the obesity chart. Individual results will be mailed out starting this month and will continue through July and August.