Texas Kids Heaviest in US

Jun 23, 2004 06:14 PM EDT

A recent report has found that children in Texas are among the most overweight in America.

The report, published in the June 1 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that fourth-graders in Texas were overweight at a rate 46% higher than children of similar age nationally.

Researchers collected data from more than 6,000 students in 30 school districts and 132 schools throughout Texas from 1999 to 2001. The study is one of the first to gather statewide data based on measured height and weight of elementary and secondary school students.

22% of fourth graders overweight

Researchers considered fourth graders overweight if they were 10 pounds heavier than the national average. Average weight for a fourth-grade girl who is four feet tall, for example, was 64 pounds. The margin for being overweight was 20 pounds for eighth graders and 30 pounds for 11th graders.

The study found 22% of fourth graders, 19% of eighth graders and nearly 16% of 11th graders were overweight.

US Government goal of only 5% overweight by 2010

National figures aren't broken up by specific school grades but the most recent ones show 15 % of children ages 6 to 11 were overweight, while 16 % of kids ages 12 to 19 were carrying extra pounds.

The researchers found no definitive answers for why children in Texas are more overweight.

The US federal government has set as a goal of having only 5% of school-aged children classified as overweight by 2010.


1. Deanna M. Hoelscher; et al., “Measuring the Prevalence of Overweight in Texas Schoolchildren,” American Journal of Public Health, 2004: 94: 1002-1008