Health Department collects BMIs

Body Mass Index is the measure of one's body fat determined by calculating a combination of a person's weight, height and age and can be used to determine if one is at a healthy weight. It also is a term that is familiar to many students in kindergarten through 12th grades throughout Madison County.

An ongoing BMI study has been occurring this school year in a collaborative effort between three local agencies to learn more about childhood obesity.

The Morrisville State College bachelor of science nursing program, the Madison County Department of Health, Madison-Oneida BOCES and several area schools, have combined forces to collect the BMI of students to determine the prevalence of childhood obesity in the county, according to Eric Faisst, Madison County director of Public Health.

Faisst said he hopes the data will allow the community to determine the next steps in addressing childhood obesity in the area, if it appears to be a problem at all.

"Although we hear a lot about the obesity problem, we don't have data to see how it affects our community," he said.

According to Faisst, the information will be especially helpful because there is existing data on adults who report BMI data themselves at a nationwide level, but there is not as much data on children, especially not locally.

Due to confidentially issues, Faisst was unable to release which schools are involved in the data collection but said all groups involved can take advantage of the study.

"It's a convergence of activities that benefit all of us," he said, adding all schools must report BMI data to the state by January and the county must do the same, so both of these groups' needs can be met through the collection.

The data collection also is benefiting nursing students who work with school nurses to collect height and weight measurements, as they are fulfilling a degree requirement by working with the community on a public health issue.

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