What if your kids received a report card for their obesity risk at the same time they got their grades in math, science and reading? That's the idea behind The Body Project: (Banishing Obesity and Diabetes in Youth,) a new program in a small group of New York City public schools.
At the start of the program, the BMI — or body mass index — was calculated for all the kids at the school by measuring each student's height and weight. A couple of weeks later, each student received a report card.
A green chart indicates a healthy BMI, amber is a warning and red is high, indicating that they are most at risk for blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure problems. For kids with a high BMI, the program offers information for the whole family on ways that they can change their lifestyle and eating habits to improve everyone's overall health.
For the second phase of the project, researchers compared each student's BMI with their performance in school. They found that kids who are overweight and obese also tend to have problems with reading and arithmetic, memory, attention, and decision-making — critical skills for doing well in school.
With all of the focus on improving kids' test scores at school, school administrators need to pay closer attention to these results. Should obesity screening be an integrated part of education in the same way vision and hearing screenings are? What do you think?
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