All students will be weighed and measured yearly in accordance with the PA state mandates.
Starting in the 2005-2006 school year, the Pennsylvania Department of Health required school districts to begin calculating Body Mass Index (BMI). This request was a result of the increased prevalence of overweight and underweight conditions in our population, especially our children. These conditions are associated with the development of chronic illnesses during adulthood including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and certain cancers.
For more information on BMI measures, you may wish to reference www.cdc.gov (retrieved from http://www.panaonline.org/). See “ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT BMI” below to find some tips on how to lower the BMI measurement as well as links to other helpful resources
BMI: What you need to know
You may have heard that this year, your school will be determining your BMI, which stands for Body Mass Index, in addition to measuring your height and weight. Below is some information that will help you to understand what the buzz is all about.
What is Body Mass Index?
- BMI is a calculation that uses your height, weight, age and gender to determine how you are growing.
How is BMI Calculated?
- Nothing will change during your school growth screening. The school nurse will measure your height and weight just like they have always done. What’s new is that those numbers will be entered into a formula and your BMI and BMI percentile calculated.
What will be done with the numbers?
- The school nurse will then send this information home to your parents/guardians and ask them to share this with your family doctor. Your friends and teachers won’t know your BMI unless you tell them.
Why is it good to know about BMI?
- Being above average weight can lead to illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems, joint problems and depression. Plus, being above average weight as a child or teenager greatly increases your chances of being overweight as an adult. Being below average weight can cause harm to your heart, kidneys, muscles and bones, and may lead to anemia. A high or low BMI is just one of many risk factor for these illnesses. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater the chance you will develop one of these diseases.
BMI – just 1 piece of the puzzle.
- When it comes to your weight, BMI is NOT the whole story. A child who is very muscular, like an athlete, may have a higher weight and BMI but not have a lot of body fat. Two people with the same BMI may have different body fat levels. That’s why you need to share this information with you family doctor.
My BMI is high. Now what?
- Talk to your parents/guardians and your doctor about what to do to lower your BMI. Unlike adults, you should NOT go on a diet. Eating healthier and exercising more can improve your BMI.
- Remember, lowering your BMI to a healthy level now will help to prevent problems as you get older.
What can I do at home to lower my BMI?
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Eat together as a family.
- Food should not be used as a reward.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Encourage your parents/guardians to serve low-fat, low-calorie foods and snacks.
- Limit your time watching TV, at the computer, and playing video games.
- Get moving (physical activity). 60 minutes or more a day.
What can I do at school to lower my BMI?
- Talk to your school nurse or teachers about healthy eating and physical activity opportunities
- Watch what you buy from vending machines – make healthy choices.
- Pack fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods in your lunch.
- Fully participate in physical education classes.