Turkey Run Kids' run boys (copy)

Small children participate in the Turkey Day Children's Fun Run at Marion Square. New research shows nearly half of South Carolina children don't meet health standards related to brisk walking or running. File/Staff

More than one-third of South Carolina children are overweight or obese and nearly half fail to meet fitness standards related to brisk walking and running, new statewide data shows. 

The SC FitnessGram project marks the first time this type of data has been collected across the state, a press release published by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control explained. 

The data was collected from more than 100,000 South Carolina students enrolled in more than 700 schools in 60 school districts during the 2016-17 school year. 

The project found only 63 percent of children met the definition for a healthy weight and that only 51 percent met cardiovascular fitness standards after brisk walking or a one-mile run. 

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Students in poverty tended to weigh more and score worse on fitness tests than those at higher income levels. 

SC FitnessGram is a collaborative project between DHEC, the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, the S.C. Department of Education and the University of South Carolina. 

"The health and nutrition of South Carolina's students has a strong impact on their future and productivity later in life," said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, in the press release. "The collaborative support from both the public and private sectors in the SC FitnessGram project has provided educators and communities with valuable data to make informed decisions about the well-being of our young people."

Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.