tacted them about the BMI reporting issues and 75 percent had been contacted by less than 10 parents.
Other states are also assessing student BMI levels or are planning similar assessments. Illinois requires schools to measure BMIs in their first-, fifth-, and ninth-grade students, and California schools measure BMI levels in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grade (NASPE and AHA, 2006). In September 2005, the Pennsylvania Department of Health began a growth screening program that required BMIs to be determined during annual screenings in kindergarten through the fourth grade; in the 2006–2007 school year this will extend up to the eighth grade, and in 2007–2008 it will encompass all students (PANA, 2006).
Evidence gathered from the studies conducted by Arkansas and evaluations of BMI assessment programs in other states will be valuable in clarifying the impact of BMI reporting. Similar issues are being evaluated in school systems that provide the results of physical fitness testing to students and parents.
A recent IOM report focused on food marketing to children and youth examined issues related to commercial activities in schools including product sales, direct and indirect advertising, and conducting marketing research on students (IOM, 2006b). The Health in the Balance report recommended that state and local education authorities and schools should develop, implement, and enforce school policies to create schools that are advertising-free to the greatest possible extent (IOM, 2005). The San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education was an early leader on this issue. In 1999, the board passed the Commercial-Free Schools Act that prohibited food and tobacco advertising in educational settings (Wynns and Chin, 1999). More recent attention on this issue includes the efforts by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in developing guidelines for partnerships between schools and beverage companies that address the use of logos and signage on school grounds and the visibility of company logos (NASSP, 2004). A recent survey of 20 California high schools found that nearly 65 percent of vending machine advertisements were for sweetened beverages and that 60 percent of the posters for products were for foods or beverages that were high in fat, sugar, or sodium or low in nutrients (Craypo et al., 2006). Advertising by soft drink companies is examined by the SHPPS survey. Research and evaluations are needed to assess the ongoing trends in advertising and other commercial activities in schools and to examine whether changes in the school environment with regard to advertising can be linked to improved dietary and physical activity behaviors and health outcomes of children and youth.