Nearly 35 Percent of Ohio Grade Schoolers Considered Overweight

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CLEVELAND -- Are school children in Ohio considered obese?  Ohio law requires school districts to conduct tests each year on students to monitor trends.  The tests results from last year are in and the results are a little eye opening.

If you have children entering kindergarten, third, fifth or ninth grade this upcoming school year, there is a good chance they will be tested in school for their BMI or Body Mass Index.

"Body Mass Index is a term that is used to describe how tall people are compared to their weight," said Carolyn Landis PHD and Licensed Clinical Psychologist for University Hospitals.

Schools are required to report their BMI test results to the Ohio Department of Health.

"I don't think that it is right.  BMI doesn't typically tell you the health of kids, it just tells you the weight," said Jacqueline Nunez a parent.

Last year, more than a third of schools chose not to provide or opted out of the BMI program. Many parents we spoke to agree that testing and charting kids for BMI maybe a little too much.

"Schools need to educate our children about healthy eating but not necessarily put a tape measure to their waist," Christine Van Farowe said.

"I think if anything it's going to make the kids self conscience and its going to give kids reasons to pick on kids," added Nunez.

Of the children that were screened, using the Body Mass Index scale, nearly 35 percent were considered overweight or obese.

"Those numbers really fit with the national numbers in terms of about 30 percent of kids being overweight or obese," Landis said.

"I think we should take it as a warning and we should get our kids out more and make sure that they remain active," George Mossey of Cleveland said.

The Department of Health says the data should not be used as a statewide health indicator, but rather to bring awareness before obesity becomes a problem.

"It depends on how your kids is raised and what is in their genes you know my are healthy, they big boys but at the same time i'm short and their mother is short," said Tyrone Fular of Cleveland.

The report used data submitted by 213 Ohio school districts and non-public schools for the 2010-2011 school year.

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