Explainers

BMI Measurement in Arkansas Schools Fact Sheet

April 1, 2018

Contact

Michael Motley, MPH
Director, Analytics
501-526-2244
MWMotley@achi.net

 

Partners

Arkansas Medicaid
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield
QualChoice
Centene
HealthSCOPE
The Arkansas State and Public School Employees Health Plan
Walmart

In 2003, Arkansas established the first statewide multifaceted strategy to combat the epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity. One component of these strategies was the reporting of health risk information to each parent through an assessment of their child’s height and weight using the body mass index (BMI) screening tool. This fact sheet summarizes the history of the BMI initiative, describes the measurement process, and provides examples of reporting and data applications.

Key Takeaways

The Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 1220 of 2003, requiring every public school student to have an annual body mass index (BMI) assessment performed. The measurement schedule was modified in 2007 to students in grades K, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10; The assessment is reported confidentially to students’ parents with an explanation of the possible negative health impact of a high BMI, as well as suggestions for healthy eating and physical activity; School district and school aggregate data have been used in grant application funding requests, school improvement plans, student projects and food-weight impact studies.