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Volume 1: No. 2, April 2004

SPECIAL TOPICS IN PUBLIC HEALTH
ORIGINAL RESEARCH: FEATURED ABSTRACT FROM THE 18TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Utah K-8th Grade Height and Weight Measurement Project


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KA Coats, MD Friedrichs, JL Ware

Suggested citation for this article: Coats KA, Friedrichs MD, Ware JL. Utah K-8th grade height and weight measurement project [abstract]. Prev Chronic Dis [serial online] 2004 Apr [date cited]. Available from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2004/
apr/03_0034f.htm
.

PEER REVIEWED

Baseline height and weight data were established on more than 10,000 Utah children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The prevalence of childhood overweight in the United States has tripled since 1966. In Utah, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System is used to track adult overweight and obesity, and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey is used to track adolescent overweight. However, no data source exists to track childhood overweight.

Height and weight data were collected on 10,041 students at randomly selected elementary and middle schools in Utah. School nurses assisted with recruiting volunteers, scheduling, and measuring. The Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program provided staff, equipment, and measurement protocol. Screens were used to protect children's privacy. Gender, birth date, height, and weight were recorded.

One fourth of Utah students in kindergarten through eighth grade — 28% of boys and 23% of girls — were overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. The percentage of students considered overweight was 12.2% — 14% for boys and 10% for girls. Since 1993, overweight among third-grade boys has increased by 119%; overweight among third-grade girls has increased by 40%.

Utah mirrors the national trend of increasing rates of childhood overweight; therefore, surveillance of kindergarten through eighth-grade students is important. With assistance from school nurses and parent and teacher volunteers, data can be collected in a timely manner. Consistent methodology is recommended, and children's privacy should be considered.

Corresponding Author: Karen Coats, Program Coordinator, Utah Department of Health, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program, PO Box 142107, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2107. Telephone: 801-538-6227. E-mail: kcoats@utah.gov.

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