Frequently Asked Questions for Student Weight Status Reporting Survey Results - County-Level Report, 2008-2010

What is the source of the data represented in the tables?

With the exception of the enrollment data, which are from the New York State Department of Education School Report Card, all the counts and percentages are based on data reported to the Student Weight Status Category Reporting System during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years. All public schools in New York State (outside the five boroughs of New York City) were required to report aggregated information from school health certificates and appraisals for students in pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten and in grades 2, 4, 7 and 10. Half of the school districts entered student weight status data at the school building level during the 2008-2009 school year and the other half reported during the 2009-2010 school year.

What do the percentages listed under the Weight Status Category Columns ("Less than 5thpercentile, Underweight"; "5th to 84th percentile, Healthy Weight"; "85th to 94th percentile, Overweight"; "95th+ percentile, Obese"; and "85th+ percentile, Overweight or Obese") reflect?

The percentages are weighted percentages. To calculate each percentage, the number of students reported within a weight status category for a grade (e.g., Second) or grade category (e.g., Middle-High, 7th and 10th) was divided by the total number for whom weight status category information was reported and weighted to reflect total enrollment. Because the percentages are based on a portion of the student population, they cannot be considered statistically representative of all students enrolled in public schools within a school district or county.

Why were data Pre-K and Kindergarten data not reported separately?

Data were not reported separately because completeness was particularly low for Pre-K and Kindergarten.

What do the counts in the columns labeled "SED Enrollment", "Reported # of Students with WSC" and "% Complete" reflect?

The column labeled "SED Enrollment" lists enrollment data from the New York State Department of Education School Report Card. The counts reflect the total number of students enrolled in the grade or grade categories covered during the reporting period. The column labeled "Reported # of Students with WSC" lists the total number of students for whom weight status category was submitted to the NYSDOH. The column labeled "% Complete" reflects the number of student for whom weight status category data was submitted (# of Students) divided by the number of children enrolled in the reportable grades (SED Enrollment).

What factors influence reporting completeness (% Complete)?

A low % complete could be due to a number of reasons, including:

  • The inability to report true numbers of students in a weight status category due to confidentiality restrictions and compliance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As a result of this restriction, a number fewer than five in any weight status category could not be reported.
  • A large amount of missing data. Missing data may be due to a lack of documentation of weight status category (based on sex-specific Body Mass Index percentile) by health care providers. Missing data may also be due to school health staff not yet having received all health certificates for students in the reportable grades by the time they needed to submit the data.
  • Errors made when completing the survey. The data may have been entered into the electronic survey but not "saved" before adding and entering the next grade group, or the data may have been overwritten while trying to enter new data. These are common errors of the Health Provider Network (now known as the Health Commerce System) School Surveillance Reporting System surveys.

What is being done to increase completeness?

Based on the results from these reporting periods, changes were made to the ways in which data are collected and reported:

  1. Information from school health certificates and appraisals collected from the previous school year not the current school year are reported.
  2. Data are entered at the school district level not the school building level.
  3. Data are reported by combined grade group categories not individual grades.

The changes, which went into effect during the 2010-2011 school year, are intended to benefit school districts by increasing the amount of reportable data that is compliant with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), decreasing the number of missing records and decreasing the number of opportunities for error in using the reporting system. All instructions for the current reporting period are posted on the Health Commerce System and on the New York Statewide School Health Services website at: