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Archbold Schools Delay Body Mass Index Testing



The Archbold Area School Board will delay the testing of students for BMI, or body mass index.

The board took the action at its Monday, Aug. 16 meeting.

Information provided by the Ohio Department of Education states BMI is a number calculated from a child’s weight and height. Expressed as a “percentile,” it can determine whether a child’s weight is considered healthy, underweight, overweight, or obese.

David Deskins, district superintendent, said the Ohio legislature passed a law requiring schools to test students in kindergarten, third, fifth, and ninth grades.

Deskins said originally, the information from each school testing was to have been passed to the county health departments. Later, it was decided it would go to the Ohio Department of Health, which would publish the information in such a way that individual students cannot be identified.

A provision was built into the law allowing districts to seek a one-year waiver of the testing requirements. Most schools are doing that, he said.

Deskins said there are concerns that the proposed testing requirements may conflict with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Julie Daubenmire, an ODE spokesman, said schools do have some flexibility on how to comply with the requirements.

One of the options is to require parents to obtain the information from their family doctor, and submit it to the school.

No Money

Who will pay for the screening?

Not the state of Ohio.

“There is not any additional state funding,” to cover the cost of the BMI screening, Daubenmire said.

Information from the ODE describes the type of equipment that must be used (only balance-beam or medical professional scales may be used; bathroom-type scales are not permitted), and says it is preferable that a medical professional conduct the measurements. If assistants are utilized, they must be trained in the process.

ODE guidelines state the testing should be done in private, so that no other students are aware of the tested student’s results.

Four Areas

The testing program divides results into four areas.

Those whose BMI number is below the fifth percentile are considered underweight. Healthy weight is considered anything from the fifth percentile through the 85th percentile.

Overweight students range from the 86th through 95th percentile.

Those above the 95 percentile are considered obese.

ODE guidelines state that if a student’s BMI number falls into the underweight, overweight, or obese categories, parents should be notifi ed of possible health risks.


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