Survey shows no change in stateâ�?�?s obese kids One-third of South Dakota students were overweight or obese in the stateâ�?�?s latest school height and weight survey. The 2007-2008 survey found 16.8 percent of school age kids were overweight and 16.3 percent were obese. The percentages are essentially unchanged from the 2006-2007 school year. â�?�?The good news is the number of obese kids did not increase from our last survey â�?�? the bad news is that it didnâ�?�?t decrease either. Weâ�?�?re still too far from our Health 2010 objective of no more than 15 percent of students being obese,â�? said Kristin Biskeborn, state nutritionist for the Department of Health. â�?�?The goal is to help kids lead healthy lives and reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disorders and other complications of excess weight.â�? The annual South Dakota School Height Weight Report is a joint effort of the Departments of Health and Education to track child overweight obesity. Since 1999, schools have submitted student height and weight data for the survey. Overweight is defined as between the 85th and 95th percentiles body mass index when compared to kids of the same age and gender; obese is above the 95th percentile. A total of 249 schools participated in the 2007-2008 survey, accounting for 27 percent of students in the state. To help schools collect and submit accurate height and weight data, the department has provided 590 scales or measuring boards to schools over the last six years using federal grant funds. Participating schools receive reports of their own data to use in improving nutrition and physical activity in their settings, for example, providing exercise equipment for students and offering healthy foods for snack time and parties. Biskeborn said there are six science-based strategies shown to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases: �?· Increase physical activity, �?· Decrease television viewing, �?· Increase fruit and vegetable intake, �?· Decrease sweetened beverage intake, �?· Decrease portion sizes, and �?· Increase breastfeeding. The full report is available on the Web at http://doh.sd. gov/SchoolWeight. Improving the health of South Dakota children and adolescents by reducing overweight and obesity is one goal of the departmentâ�?�?s Health 2010 Initiative.