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Study Finds School-Sanctioned BMI Screenings Ineffective in Promoting Weight Loss for Students

Study Finds School-Sanctioned BMI Screenings Ineffective In Promoting Weight Loss for Students

A study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that despite efforts from New York City Public Schools to help students maintain healthy lifestyles by giving each one body-mass index reports, students aren’t losing weight.

"After weighing and measuring its 1.1 million students, the school system gave each reports including a BMI number, weight percentile and, until last year, a designation: ‘underweight,' 'healthy weight,' ‘overweight' or ‘obese.' Those outside 'healthy weight’ were advised to consult a health professional,” said The Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

Studying the school system’s students for four years, researchers found no indication that the report helped overweight students lose weight.

BMI screenings are used in 19 states after a 2003 recommendation from the National Institute of Medicine, but research has found mixed results about the benefits ever since.

"Child obesity rates leveled off in Arkansas in the first four years of school screenings, but they were implemented alongside other anti-obesity measures. A study published last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health found the BMI reports alone had no impact on Arkansas juniors and seniors, who had already learned their measurements in earlier grades,” the Bluefield Daily Telegraph said.

In other words, many experts agree that BMI screenings aren’t enough to make a difference in promoting healthier lifestyles for students. Rather, schools need to also look into additional anti-obesity measures to spur action.

Read the full story

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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