WHAT IS BMI?
The Pennsylvania Department of Health requires that each student in Grades K-12 have a Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement calculated. This screening tool, the BMI, uses a child’s weight relative to his/her height. The purpose of this measurement is to screen children for possible weight concerns. The school nurse’s goal is to identify those children who may be at risk for being overweight or underweight and to focus on promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. Please be assured that your child will be weighed and measured as in the past, with shoes and any heavy outer clothing removed, and that all measurements are kept confidential and are not shared with classmates.
This report indicates your child’s height, weight, and BMI for age percentile, as well as the results of vision (grades K-12) and hearing (grades K-3, 6, and 11) screening. Please keep in mind the following information about the growth screening process:
• One in five children in the United States is overweight, a statistic that has doubled in the last three decades. Being overweight can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases later in life.
• BMI is a screening process, not a diagnosis. The best person to evaluate your child’s weight status is his/her regular health care provider.
• Our focus during the growth screening process is health-centered, rather than weight-centered. That is, we encourage families to enjoy healthful eating together, plan daily physical activity, and create a nurturing environment where children can develop a positive body image.
Please contact the school nurse or your family doctor if you have any questions or concerns about the BMI growth screening process.