Who are you calling fat, Willis?

A recent article came out about schools sending parents information about their children’s weight and BMI. See link below. It is an interesting idea that can be tremendously helpful or hurtful depending on its approach. I can see both sides of the argument. However the focus should always be on the health of the kids and their well being. Here are the pros and cons of such a letter as I see them:

Pros:

Healthy lifestyle habits are important to start at young age.

Schools have been monitoring contributing to students’ health for decades such as free student lunches, dental checkups, etc.

Schools and universities in most communities are the center of learning, so why not have them teach students about being healthy.

The nation is dealing with an obesity epidemic especially among children and this may help curb it.

Cons:

This type of potential premature labeling as fat can be detrimental to a child’s self esteem, while being a wakeup call, if there is generational obesity issue in the family.

A child could have a health problem that is the reason for the perceived weight and being wrongly accused of being overweight.

BMI charting and other height/weight standardization charting is flawed.

Schools should not play the role of parents.

There is no easy answer to these questions. As a society, we need mentally and physically healthy kids. Notice that I didn’t say kids that are size 2, but healthy, which will come in different sizes. Unfortunately, we still need to be mindful that we don’t discriminate against groups including those who students may “appear” to be overweight. If the BMI information is used responsibly and judiciously, noting its imperfections, parents and schools can use this letter as a conversation starter to assist in the effort to eradicate childhood obesity.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/08/19/report-fat-letters-necessary-to-fight-childhood-obesity

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