In the last 30 years, childhood obesity has doubled and is increasing among younger children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If a child is obese by the age of 13, he or she is 70 percent likely to be an obese adult, the USDA tells us.
Plug into that equation the 314 Milford 7th graders who had their Body Mass Index calculated earlier this school year, and you'll find that 40 percent of them are at high risk of carrying obesity into adulthood.
But it's not too late to turn around that statistic and start taking advantage of the numerous activities Milford has to offer to keep kids (and adults, for that matter) healthy.
Superintendent Bob Tremblay encourages families not to think of BMI as an obstacle, but as motivator toward health.
School-based BMI screening was initiated as a mandate from the state Department of Public Health. The screening was intended to raise awareness for parents and provide a first step toward intervention for children who are overweight and obese.
The issue, brought to the forefront last year when First Lady introduced her "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity, is quantified in part through BMI, a number calculated from a person's weight and height and used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or greater.
A total of 1,161 children in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10 in the Milford schools had their BMI calculated in January. Children fell into the underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese categories. The majority of students fell into the healthy weight category.
According toTremblay and School Nursing Director Judy Dagnese, the BMI statistics revealed that 29 percent to 33 percent of the elementary students and 40 percent of the 7th and 10th graders in Milford are overweight and obese, compared to 10 percent to 20 percent national average cited by the CDC.
The table below shows the results (each number is a student).Grade
(>5th and <85th percentile)
(>85th percentile but <95th)
(>95th percentile)1 17 205 44 48 4 5 210 52 55 7 8 182 69 55 10 2 127 47 35
Parents and guardians were notified of the child’s status by mail with recommendation for follow up with an appropriate healthcare provider. (More information is available here: www.mass.gov/massinmotion.)
Milford school administrators say they take these numbers seriously and are instituting changes.
They have revamped the Student Wellness Policy with components of nutrition, physical activity and wellness policy in alignment with the Medical Awareness Policy. In addition, the district adheres to the ‘Massachusetts A La Carte Food and Beverage Standards to Promote a Healthier School Environment’ Action for Healthy Kids.
Tremblay recommended that families work with the schools by utilizing the many community resources for exercise and nutrition, such as:
- “Physical Education in our Schools night,” is 6 to 7:45 p.m. March 31 at .
- is currently in the midst of a “Jump rope for Heart” fundraiser.
Healthy Kids Week, from April 11 to April 15, is loaded with opportunities for family fun, healthy eating and exercise:
- Healthy kids “Olympics” at the
- will offer free swim
- Woodland and 5K and ½ mile fun run on April 9
- Cooking with Carla Tuttle in conjunction with , , and students on Milford cable
- “Walk in Progress” when all the Milford schools will have children and staff walking nonstop
- 1st Annual Family Fitness Run on Sunday, May 22.
Empowering your family's health means simple and consistent changes that can help ward off a lifetime of challenges obesity presents.