Don't Call My Kid Fat

Parents who were at one time getting reports home from school that their children were obese have decided that's not something they want to see, or know, anymore, at least in Massachusetts.

According to Jess Bidgood at The New York Times, "The state Public Health Council voted Wednesday to stop automatically sending letters home with public school students about their weight."

The state is one of 21 that collects info on kids' body mass indexes, those intials we've all come to hate, BMI, but now parents are saying it's hurting their kids' self esteem and becoming fodder for bullies. Called the "fat letters," parents have been receiving them in the Bay State since 2010.

The testing, though, will continue in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10, Bidgood reports.

"I think [the BMI letters] are an overreaching by the Department of Public Health," Lyons told the Daily News. "I've had numerous complaints from parents considering the impact ot has on children being ostracized for being too thin or too fat. Parents are really concerned."

The notes are sent to all parents, regardless of whether their children are classified as overweight, underweight or somewhere in the healthy range, and include an addendum that BMI "may not tell the whole story" about kids' weight, Tracy Miller at The Daily News notes.

"But it's the obese classification that really seems to rankle parents, many of whom insist -- as do some scientists and health experts -- that BMI can be frankly inaccurate," she writes.

"I think [the BMI letters] are an overreaching by the Department of Public Health," State Representative Jim Lyons told the Daily News. "I've had numerous complaints from parents considering the impact ot has on children being ostracized for being too thin or too fat. Parents are really concerned."

As I've mentioned before, I have a kid who's underweight (76 pounds at age 12), but I'm not sure I'd want a letter telling me that, either.  Still, some parents may be in denial -- and that's not a good thing either.

I remember the couched insult from my own youth, "She's just big-boned."  I would have hated getting a letter home like that.  But today, with obesity so prevalent among our youth, and leading to such serious diseases if not caught now, shouldn't parents be notified of a kid's weight if it's a problem?  Although, if they just opened their eyes, they probably could see it!










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