37.1 percent of Kenai Peninsula students are over a healthy weight, according to a State survey. In 2011, the State started collecting student height and weight data. That year, the number was almost a full percent lower at 36 percent.
Superintendent of the District, Dr. Steve Atwater, said obesity is a concern…
Dr. Atwater: “Childhood obesity and being overweight, is an issue for everybody, it’s not just a school district issue, but we do embrace our roll that we’re playing in helping combat that. Our wellness policy that we have in place banned the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages in vending machines, we have things internally like that, that are working to help kids stay healthy. Our student nutrition program is being improved all the time, we have healthier food, fruit and vegetables being served, we have a fruit and vegetable program in 13 of our schools.”
Last year, 63 percent of students were a healthy weight and 1 percent were underweight. This year, 61.7 percent are in the healthy range and 1.2 percent are underweight.
At the upper end of the scale, students over a healthy weight are broken into two categories: overweight and obese. This year, 18.7 percent of students were obese and 18.4 percent overweight. Last year, 18.9% of students were classified as overweight, and 17.1% as obese.
Dr. Atwater said the District also considers the overall impact of obesity…
Dr. Atwater: “This is an important finding for us, because we know that, students who are obese tend to do less well at school, they tend to miss more school than students who are not, and their academic performance is lower. So this is one way to ultimately help kids have a better school performance.”
District-wide, the heaviest class was Pre-K, where 44.4 percent are overweight or obese. For 12th grade students, that figure drops to 33.5 percent.