Percentage of South Dakota’s Kids Overweight, Obese Unchanged

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, February 07, 2017
CONTACT:  Ashley Miller, (605) 367-4342  

                                              Percentage of South Dakota’s Kids Overweight, Obese Unchanged

PIERRE, S.D. – Almost one-third of South Dakota’s kids and teens are overweight or obese, according to a new state health report.

The 2015-2016 School Height and Weight Report found 16.1 percent of South Dakota’s 5-19 year olds were obese and another 16 percent were overweight. That compares to 16.0 percent obese and 16.2 percent overweight in 2014-2015.

“It’s good news that the child obesity rate is no longer rising,” said Ashley Miller, chronic disease epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “But bringing the rate down won’t happen overnight, just as reaching these levels didn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take long-term effort from schools, communities and parents.”

A total of 172 schools submitted student height and weight data for this latest survey, accounting for 34.6 percent of students in the state. The survey defines obese as at or above the 95th percentile body mass index-for-age when compared to kids of the same age and gender; overweight is between the 85th and 94th percentiles.

The department’s goal is to reduce the percentage of students who are obese to 14 percent by the year 2020.
Miller said the department offers a variety of resources to help encourage healthy diets and increase physical activity for kids. The Munch Code ( provides healthy concessions information for schools and youth activities and Harvest of the Month ( combines lessons and produce sampling to get kids eating more vegetables and fruit.  

The full student height weight report is available at

Improving child and adolescent health through reducing obesity is a key performance measure of the Department of Health’s 2015-2020 strategic plan,

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