W.Va. children’s health improves, obesity declines

CHARLESTON (AP) — A statewide screening program shows that the health of West Virginia children is improving.

Figures from West Virginia University’s CARDIAC program show that 27.8 percent of fifth-graders screened in the 2011-2012 school year were obese. That’s down from 28.9 percent in the 2010-2111 school year.

During the same period, the number of fifth-graders with high blood pressure fell from 24 percent to 20.3 percent. The abnormal cholesterol rate fell from 26.1 percent to 23.5 percent.

The kindergarten obesity rate declined from 17.5 percent to 13.6 percent.

However, the second-grade obesity rate rose a point to 24.5 percent.

CARDIAC program director Dr. Bill Neal tells the Sunday Gazette-Mail that the numbers are encouraging. But he says the state cannot get complacent.

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