A study of more than 800 western Kentucky children shows 25 percent are obese, and another 18 percent are overweight. The national average of obese children is 17 percent. Murray State University nursing professor Dr. Dana Manley was part of a team of researchers who compiled the data, based on 2008 and 2009 cardiovascular fitness tests.
Manley says the weight numbers are nothing new. But she says measurements of western Kentucky children’s fitness levels were surprising.
“There were only 2.9 percent of those students had good fitness scores. And only .6 percent had excellent," said Manley. "So the overall majority, 49 percent, had average fitness scores. But we had 47.5 percent had poor fitness scores.”
Manley says many local programs either through schools or health departments are working to combat childhood weight problems. She adds large scale improvement isn’t likely without wide ranging health policy reforms.