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Obesity on the Decline for Elementary Students in Mississippi

By Rhonda Miller | Published 29 Jun 2012 06:27pm | comments
Two hundred health professionals from across Mississippi took part in the second annual Health Summit at USM in Hattiesburg.

The obesity rate for Mississippi elementary school students is on the decline. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports researchers are cautiously optimistic about the good news.

For years, obesity rates just kept rising in Mississippi. Now, Professor Jerome Kolbo of the University of Southern Mississippi College of Health says it’s the young people who are finally turning the corner on one of the state’s major health problems

"The most important finding for me, as a researcher, is that obesity and overweight rates are declining at the elementary grade level. And as these kids move through our public school system, the hope is that will continue to carry through as they get into middle school and into high school."

Kolbo is a professor of social work who detailed his findings at the second annual Mississippi Health Summit in Hattiesburg Friday that drew 200 health professionals from around the state.

Kolbo says there’s also a troubling finding in his research. Obesity rates are declining for white students.

"We’re seeing it fairly level among the black students. And there is this, what appears to be an increasing disparity between the white students and the black students. And that is of concern when the programs and activities, the policies that are being implemented in the schools are for all students."

The research has been conducted among 4,500 students in kindergarten through 12th grade in public schools across Mississippi. The reasons for the trends in obesity are not part of the study.

 

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Two hundred health professionals from across Mississippi took part in the second annual Health Summit at USM in Hattiesburg.


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