The school health program is designed to give first aid and medical care for injuries and illnesses that occur primarily during school hours. In addition to providing emergency care, school nurses perform health screenings for all students and also provide support for those with special needs. Education and wellness promotion is a major focus of our program. Please remember that the nurse’s office is not a primary care facility. School nurses cannot diagnose, prescribe treatment, or give medications without a doctor’s order.
School health screenings in the state of Pennsylvania include mandated yearly measurement of your child’s body mass index (BMI). BMI is a screening tool used to determine whether a child is overweight or underweight. Your child’s BMI is based on the ratio of height to weight and reported as a percentile ranking based on the child’s age and gender. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) created the percentile ranges, listed below, to identify children who may be at risk for specific health problems. Children with high BMI are at increased risk for serious health conditions such as insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) and heart disease. Like all screening tools, BMI can produce some false positives or false negatives. For example, a student may have an artificially high BMI due to a high level of lean body tissue or muscle, as may be found in a well-conditioned athlete. Your child’s health care provider is in the best position to evaluate your child’s overall health.
Underweight = <18.5 Normal weight = 18.5–24.9 Overweight = 25–29.9 Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater