We knew our kids were fat, Cleveland. Now we're finding out just how fat.
According to numbers out last week, 40% of fifth-graders in "inner-ring schools" in Cleveland are overweight or obese. We can get into the details in a second, but to boil it down quick and dirty: Science says almost half of our kids are fat.
Think about that the next time you send your kid off to school with three Polish boys and a pound of macaroni and cheese for lunch. (We're just guessing, but the evidence seems to suggest that's what parents are packing their kids for lunch these days in Cleveland. Right? How else do half of our kids become clinically overweight?)
The Plain Dealer reports that those numbers put Cleveland over the national average of around 33%.
Here's the background on where those husky, husky numbers came from:
The study was a partnership between the Cleveland Clinic and the First Ring Superintendents' Collaborative. It measured the BMI of nearly 8,000 students in 71 school buildings as part of the collaborative's wellness initiative.
The districts participating were: Bedford, Berea, Brooklyn, Cleveland Heights-University Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, East Cleveland, Euclid, Fairview Park, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Maple Heights, Parma, Shaker Heights, South Euclid-Lyndhurst and Warrensville Heights.
A state law passed this year requires public and private schools to conduct body mass index screenings of students in kindergarten, third, fifth and ninth grades and report them to the state health department by June 1, 2011. But schools can request waivers that exempt them from the requirement. And a lot of them have.
As of Dec. 7, 226 of Ohio's 613 public school districts had asked for a waiver, according to Scott Blake, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education.
On top of that, 310 of the state's 758 private schools and 50 of its 325 charter schools had requested an exemption, he said.
Those same schools that applied for exemptions also told the state, "It's cool, my grandma says I'm just big and strong and you're just a meanie."