The number of South Dakota kids who are overweight or obese is 32.2 percent, essentially unchanged for the fourth straight year, according to a new state health report.
“The 2014-2015 School Height and Weight Report shows no real change in the South Dakota’s child and adolescent overweight and obesity rates,” said Ashley Miller, chronic disease epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “While it’s good that the rates have leveled off, our goal is to see those numbers come down.”
Miller said the state’s 2014-2015 school height weight survey found 16.0 percent of South Dakota’s 5-19 year olds were obese and another 16.2 percent were overweight. In 2013-2014 the obesity rate was 15.8 percent and the overweight rate was 16.5 percent; in 2012-2013 the rates were 16.0 percent and 16.6 percent, respectively.
A total of 181 schools submitted student height and weight data for this latest survey, accounting for 37.3 percent of students in the state. The survey defines obese as at or above the 95th percentile body mass index-for-age when compared to kids of the same age and gender; overweight is between the 85th and 94th percentiles.
The department’s goal is to reduce the percentage of students who are obese to 14 percent by the year 2020.
Miller said the department offers a variety of resources to help encourage healthy diets and increase physical activity for kids. The Munch Code (www.munchcode.org/) provides healthy concessions information for schools and youth activities and Harvest of the Month (www.sdharvestofthemonth.org/) combines lessons and produce sampling to get kids eating more vegetables and fruit.
The full student height weight report is available at http://doh.sd.gov/statistics/.