Student weight study results mixed
The results of the second round of a Body Mass Index study of Spartanburg County schools are disconcerting ... with a hint of hope.
More than one-third of students are overweight or obese, but the percentage in two of the three grades tested went down remarkably compared to the previous year.
Researchers measured the BMI for children in the first, third and fifth grades in Spartanburg schools, according to the study released last week. Because they only measure every other grade, a different set of students was measured last year, so year-to-year comparisons aren’t necessarily valid yet.
The groups working on the effort hope the changes from 2011-12 to 2012-13 offer a hint of long-term improvements, according to Partners for Active Living, one of the partners in the project. The project dovetails with efforts by school and public health groups to provide healthier food choices and more exercise options.
This year’s study found 27.6 percent of first-graders were obese or overweight, compared to 33.4 percent last year; 33.8 percent for third-graders, compared to 38 percent last year; and 41.3 percent for fifth-graders, compared to 39.1 percent last year.
The big drops for first-graders and third-graders are “very encouraging,” said Ned Barrett, partnership coordinator for Partners for Active Living. “All the attention that’s been given to childhood obesity nationwide probably is having an impact.”
But there won’t be real proof of progress until next year, when the study’s original first- and third-grade classes get tested in third and fifth grades, he said.
The testing covers nearly 10,000 students. Their obesity and overweight rates are similar to other less scientific studies of the state’s children in recent years.
Across the board, the study found African-American children are more likely to be obese than white children, and Hispanic children are more likely to be obese than either of the other groups.
Dining Out for Life is Thursday
You can get a great meal and help raise money for the S.C. HIV/AIDS Council on Thursday during the annual Dining Out for Life event in Columbia.
The funds raised in the event pay for local HIV/AIDS education initiatives. More than $3,000 was raised during the event last year.
Among the businesses donating a portion of their proceeds on Thursday are Blue Fin Seafood in the Village at Sandhill, The Deli - Say No More at 1616 Taylor St., Drip Coffee Shop at 729 Saluda Ave., The Food Gallery at 3702 River Drive, Kiki’s Chicken & Waffles at 110 Columbia Northeast Drive, Momo’s Bistro at 2930 Devine St., Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe at 2001 Greene St., Rossos Trattoria Italia at 4840 Forest Dr., Tombo Grille at 4509 Forest Drive, Village Idiot Pizza at 4517 Forest Drive and 2009 Devine St. and Yesterday’s at 2030 Devine St. The clothing store Revente at 737 Saluda Ave. also is participating in the event.
Walk at lunch events planned
Three public walk at lunch events put together by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina are planned this week in the state to mark National Walk@Lunch Day.
In Columbia, a community walk is set for Thursday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the S.C. State House. Other walks are planned for Friday at Falls Park in Greenville and Marion Square in Charleston.
“We’re encouraging everyone who works near these sites to participate by wearing comfortable shoes to work and walking for at least 30 minutes during lunch,” said Dr. Laura Long, BlueCross’ vice president of clinical innovation and population health. “Walking during a lunch break is a great way for all of us to make time for exercise as we juggle work and other commitments that demand so much of our time.”
Walgreens offers free health checks
The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour continues in the Columbia area, offering free health tests at the company’s various stores through the end of the month. The tour is co-sponsored by the National Urban League.
Tests offered include total cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, body composition, skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, visceral fat, real body age and body weight. They will be available for people age 18 and older, and the full range of tests takes about 20 minutes.
Screening can lead to early detection of chronic problems such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The tour dates and times include: Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 1223 St. Andrews Road, Columbia; Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 1903 South Lake Drive, Lexington; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 1010 Old Barnwell Road, West Columbia; Monday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 2224 Augusta Road, West Columbia.
Compiled by Joey Holleman