Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
According to the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, 37.3 percent of Georgia children ages 10 to 17 are considered overweight or obese – about six percent higher than the national average. To combat Georgia’s childhood obesity epidemic, the Gainesville Times reports that Hall County Public Schools is partaking in a pilot program that will provide a health score for each student. The Georgia Board of Education selected a total of five school districts to test-run a program that will be used as the state’s official physical fitness guide once the 2011-2012 school year beings. Each year, physical education instructors will test students’ muscle strength, body composition and endurance, and put the data online for parents and other district members to access. The scores will follow students as they progress through their school career, from elementary school through high school. The pilot is a part of the Student Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Act, signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue last year, which requires all P.E. students to have annual fitness assessments with documented results starting in 2011.