Monday, May 7, 2007

Weighty Issue: Routine Weigh-Ins At School?

Obesity screening for school children is a hot topic or perhaps more accurately a "hot button" issue for schools.

With all the testing that's going on is one more test really necessary?

NYC recently considered routinely weighing school children which may seem like a good way to fight childhood obesity, however, opponents point out there's no evidence that it actually works.

Take the UK. Right now, many children periodically have their weight taken at school. In the UK, 4- to 5-year-olds and 10- to 11-year-olds are routinely weighed so that health officials can keep track of the nation's obesity problem.

But more recently, as in the case of Arkansas, politicians have called for weighing all school children, and giving the results to their parents -- along with lifestyle advice and referrals to health services, when appropriate.

However, no clinical trials have been done on the effectiveness of routine weight screening in schools.

Research indicates that schools might be able to combat childhood obesity in other ways, such as promoting healthy eating and exercise. Painting games and activity markings on playgrounds is one research supported intervention for increasing children's physical activity level thus, decreasing the potential for being overweight. To view some research on this issue visit: www.peacefulplaygrounds.com/research.htm.