April 24, 2006
Preliminary data from a special assessment of weight levels in certain grades indicate that the percentage of Texas fourth-graders who are overweight dropped from 25.6 percent in 2000-2002 to 23 percent in 2004-2005.
The raw data, from the School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey done for the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) by the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, shows slight increases in the percentage of Texas eighth- and 11th-graders who are overweight.
“On the surface the drop in weight among fourth-graders might not seem like much,” said Texas Commissioner of State Health Services Eduardo Sanchez, M.D. “But when all you hear is ‘fatter,' any indication of ‘slimmer' is extremely encouraging.”
Sanchez credited the decline to comprehensive efforts that have led to more nutritious school meals, restrictions on in-school snacks, more physical exercise for students and the involvement of parents and communities in “trying to achieve a better balance between calories taken in and calories burned.”
The percentage of overweight eighth-graders increased from 18.5 percent in 2000-2002 to 20 percent in 2004-2005. The percentage of overweight 11th-graders increased from 14.5 percent to 19 percent.
DSHS also announced a revised edition of the Strategic Plan for the Prevention of Obesity in Texas. The revisions update a plan first published in early 2003.
The new version includes obesity-addressing action items for families, schools and child-care centers, communities and local governments, worksites, business and industry, healthcare industry, state government and statewide organizations.
(News Media: for more information contact Doug McBride, DSHS Press Officer, 512-458-7524.)