An increasing number of parents are fuming over the so-called "fat letter" that they've received from their child's school.
In the past several years, a number of states have begun requiring schools to screen kids for obesity and send home body mass index (BMI) reports and letters to parents. States including Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Massachusetts have passed legislation requiring schools to set up BMI measurement programs.
The problem: Many parents whose children are perfectly fit, healthy, and/or active in sports but muscular in build are reporting that they've received letters flagging their child as obese or at risk for obesity. What irks critics of these school-based BMI reports is that the reports are being issued with little or no guidance to help parents understand that BMI evaluations, especially for children, may not in fact be indicative of a weight problem. Others are questioning whether schools should be sending out these reports in the first place.
I think that while the laws are well-intentioned, there are better ways schools can spend money and energy to combat child obesity. For instance, they can ensure that school lunches are nutritious and full of healthy and delicious options. They can also work to make sure that kids have enough breaks for exercise and lessons about healthy eating and fitness in their school day.
Have you ever received an obesity report from your child's school? What do you think about schools issuing BMI reports?