Prevalence of Overweight Among Elementary and Middle School Students in Mississippi Compared With Prevalence Data From the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
Published Date:Jun 15 2006
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 2006; 3(3).
The purpose of the Child and Youth Prevalence of Overweight Survey was to estimate the prevalence of overweight and at risk for becoming overweight among children in Mississippi (grades 1–8) using height and weight measures instead of self-report and to compare the findings for grades 6 through 8 with data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System for middle school students (grades 6–8).
Students in randomly selected classes from 37 sampled elementary and middle schools throughout Mississippi participated in the study. School staff were trained to collect height and weight data using a standardized procedure.
Overall, 24.0% of students in grades 1 through 8 were found to be overweight, and another 14.7% were at risk for becoming overweight. With the exception of sixth grade, there was a trend of increasing prevalence of overweight by grade (17.5% in grade 1 compared with 31.3% in grade 8). In the Child and Youth Prevalence of Overweight Survey, 25.2% of students in grades 6 through 8 were found to be overweight, compared with 18.5% in the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.
A high percentage of students in Mississippi are already overweight in first grade, and the prevalence tends to increase by grade. Data collected from middle school students through measured heights and weights in the Child and Youth Prevalence of Overweight Survey were higher than self-reported data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Our data suggest that self-reported data underestimate the prevalence of overweight among middle school students. Efforts to monitor students' body mass index and assess effectiveness of interventions should include all grades and use measured heights and weights rather than self-reports.
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