All Altus schools are scheduled to hold body mass index or BMI screenings this week, and Blair and Duke Public Schools have already completed the process.
The effort is in line with the Nutrition and Fitness Task Force preparing for its 7th Annual BMI Project.
BMI is a measure of body fat based on a height and weight comparison. While a BMI screening for adults requires those two measurements alone, the measurements for children and teens requires a birth date, date of measurement, gender, height to the nearest eighth of an inch and weight to the nearest quarter pound to calculate BMI within an age percentile.
Data collected at these screenings is stripped of all identifiers, such as names and student identification numbers, before being calculated to ensure the privacy of the students. This data collection allows the Jackson County Health Department or JCHD to evaluate the healthiness of students in Jackson County based on age group and take steps to create a healthier community.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, persons may consider seeking advice from their health care providers on healthy weight status and consider individual circumstances.
The results of the screening are expected to be sent directly to parents or guardians in early next Spring without body shaming students. The results are not intended to be diagnostic and students are encouraged not to share their results with classmates.
Because teachers and staff have agreed to work with the JCHD and the Task Force, the project, though time-consuming for those collecting and calculating the results, comes together in a smooth and timely manner.
Along with the BMI project, the Task Force is looking to bring the open streets concept to Altus.
The open streets concept has been successful in bigger metropolitan areas such as Lawton and Oklahoma City, but the committee hopes to make the concept applicable to rural communities as well by starting with only a two- to three-hour event that coincides with another event already taking place in the community.
While still in the preplanning stages, the committee hopes to provide low-cost activities for children, bolster community relationships, and focus on healthy food options at any open streets event that may happen in the future.
For more information, please contact the JCHD at 580-482-7308.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.