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Akron waives state requirement to collect student weight data

By John Published: September 28, 2010

     Akron Public Schools will seek a waiver from a new state requirement to collect and report data on student weight as part of legislation enacted in June to reduce childhood obesity.
     Ohio Senate Bill 210, also known as the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children Act, requires school districts in Ohio to conduct body mass index (BMI) screenings each year for students. (Click on the above link to the Ohio Department of Education for frequently asked questions and other documents).
     The testing would be for all students in kindergarten, third grade, fifth grade and ninth grade.
     A BMI score, which may indicate whether someone is overweight, is calculated with a formula based on a child's height and weight.
     All districts must report individual results to parents, who can opt out of the test, and also must report aggregate BMI data to the Ohio Department of Health by June 1 each year, according to the state. 
     However, districts may obtain a one-year waiver of the screening requirement.
     As of early last week, the state had received waiver requests from 124 districts or more than one in six in the state.
     Akron Superintendent David James said Akron wants more time to figure out who is going to perform the measurements, how the information will be integrated using the district's new computer software for student data, and whether any student privacy concerns need to be addressed before beginning to collect the data.

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