Health Department Releases BMI Report

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released its first report on Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings of Ohio’s school children, July 27, showing that nearly 35 percent of those screened were overweight or obese. 

The report, authorized by Senate Bill 210, uses data submitted by 213 school districts and nonpublic schools for the 2010-11 school year.  Approximately 686 of the more than 1,800 education entities chose not to provide data and opted out of the program.  SB 210 requires school districts to conduct individual-level BMI screening each year for all students in kindergarten, third, fifth and ninth grades and report the findings to ODH.

“We have been partnering with schools for many years to get high-quality surveillance data that give us a statewide snapshot of the health of our children, said Andrew Wapner, DO, chronic disease medical director at the ODH. “Hopefully, these partnerships will continue so schools have the information they need to help create healthy environments to help their students succeed academically.” 

Wapner added that the ODH is also working with workplaces, communities, healthcare providers, faith-based organizations and childcare providers to help create environments for better heat. 

Senate Bill 210, known as the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children Act, contains provisions to combat obesity by increasing physical activity and ensuring access to health meals and beverage.  The law requires school districts to provide students and parents or guardians with information about student health.

All city, exempted village, local and chartered-nonpublic schools, community schools and district owned and operated STEM schools must conduct body mass index (BMI) screening each year for all students. They must conduct body mass index screening annual for all students in kindergarten, third fifth and ninth grades and report aggregate BMI data to the state by June 1st of each year. 

Ohio Senate Bill 316 rendered the screening programs optional, with schools required to opt in to the screening.  The new law will take effect this fall.   Link to the report: .  Then click on “Healthy Choices for Healthy Children Act Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening Program 2010-2011”