Body Mass Index Of Students In Athens Goes Down

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The average body mass index of students in the Athens City School district is going down.

Athens City School Nurse Janalee Stock says there has been a four percent decrease since last year.

This is the second year that the district is doing body mass index testing on students.

Stock says while the state mandate requiring the testing is cumbersome, they are working hard to get the message across to the students.

"We had a health conference with our schools.  We had a nationally known speaker discuss how important health is to learning. The following year we did a walk across america program and got dance dance revolution going. We just keep trying to chip away at it, trying to get the message out how important it is to move and to eat right," says Stock.

The grades tested for obesity are kindergarten, third, fifth, and ninth grade.

Stock says that sending letters home to the families about their child's BMI is something that needs to be done carefully.

"It really needs to be approached in a sensitive manner and I always try to emphasize were not talking about obesity, as much as heart health and trying to prevent diabetes and high blood pressure, and that's really the concern. It's not about peoples size, it's what the implications are," says Stock.

Stock also says they were able to comply with the mandate because of grant money from donors like the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and the Athens Foundation.