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Obesity Report Cards in Schools: A Good Idea?

Arkansas is the first state to send home obesity report cards to warn parents of overweight kids' health risks, but the state may ditch the plan or weaken it with the help of the new governor. Arkansas' program began in 2004 after the Legislature directed public schools to weigh and measure children, calculating their body-mass index. Since then California, Florida and Pennsylvania have launched similar efforts.

Critics are saying that sending home an overweight report card to parents may weaken a child's self esteem, which could be detrimental as overweight children already have self-esteem problems.

Supporters say that parents can help since some of the children who got the obesity report card from school have started attending fitness clinics. Furthermore, that some parents don't really know their child is overweight until they get the letter.

So what do you guys think about obesity report cards in schools?

Join The Conversation
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
thats true butrfly! when i was in primary school (grade 1 - 6), i became slightly overweight in primary 3. so they made me join this compulsory "club" that made the "fat kids" run before sch started everyday! in front of everyone! it made me feel like shizz and its so awful. ugh. i still cringe when i think about it. when i got to secondary school, it was better. the school i attended had 2 compulsory jogging days for the entire school. so its really fair, and it worked. :D
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
I think that's def. better than a report card, mandiesoh. But, I just feel like they're picking on heavy kids. There are plenty of health issues in families that the school doesn't involve themselves in. What about the kids that are very unhealthy, but aren't heavy? There are plenty of kids that get close to no nutrients, but don't show it because they aren't fat. Or! What about the kids who are UNDERWEIGHT?? That's why I think that the school should focus on making all kids healthy instead of pointing out the 'fat ones'.
mandiesoh mandiesoh 10 years
im with puddinpie, kinda torn. these kids are OBESE, which means that its already a health issue and something needs to be done. and its true that many parents are blind to whats in front of them, esp when it comes to their kids. they always have the thinking that "they'll grow out of it". on the other hand, i worry that the kids might suffer from low self esteem too. i think the best way would be to meet and speak to the parents face to face? its more sincere than a letter/report card i think, and they can really get down to business and work out how to help the kid
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
EDUCATION beats HUMILIATION. You know, if they are going to do this, then shouldn't they get involved in teens' sex lives?? I mean, they could find out who's doin' it, and send home report cards that say "Your daughter's a WH*RE, here's a camp that we are going to send her to that will teach her how to be a good little girl." Why stop there? Why don't we just send our kids off for 12 years and let the schools raise them COMPLETELY. I mean, SOME parents can't take care of their kids, so why not just take ALL of them and let the state deal with it? They would do SUCH a better job than us losers.
rubialala rubialala 10 years
This is a hard one, some parents just don't know what to do and others don't do what they are supposed to do. And the kids are innocent to a certain age and can be sensitive about it. I don't know.
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
the schools are already involved in it by cutting pe, shortening recess times and stuffing fattening food down students throats flutter-the one, the only, accept no substitutions
Marci Marci 10 years
I think it's a really personal issue and the schools should stay out of it.
puddinpie puddinpie 10 years
^Sorry, I wasn't trying to be mean-spirited or anything...I re-read my comment, and I don't think I was being snarky, but apologize if you interpreted it that way. I agree with you that Marilyn is gorgeous and not pencil-thin, but I think most people who have seen her pictures or her movies can estimate her size/weight...and she's not a big woman, in my opinion anyway.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Well puddinpie, thanks for shattering the one celeb i knew of who was pretty even though she was curvy and not pencil thin... _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
puddinpie puddinpie 10 years
^Sorry, I might she was nowhere near overweight...
puddinpie puddinpie 10 years
The letter to the parents (instead of a humiliating report card) that a poster suggested upthread is a better idea. I am kind of torn on the issue. Like I mentioned earlier, it's been noted that most parents do NOT believe their child is overweight, even though they are. Childhood obesity rates are climbing, and I think an intervention should be made at home. One does not need to have a PhD to determine BMI--there are numerous online calculators that make it a simple task. Weight debates are always tough and often un-PC...though at the risk of giving an unpopular opinion, I do think a letter home would help some parents perhaps rethink what they are feeding their kids, and it might encourage some parents to engage in more physical activities with their kids. (And Marilyn Monroe was nowhere near a modern day size 16. ;) She looks like a modern day size 4-6, and probably a 2 when she was her thinnest. She was something like 5'5" and her weight flucuated between 118-140 pounds, which is nowhere not overweight--just healthy, curvy and gorgeous. :) Anyway, I digress...)
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
My scoliosis screening was just as disturbing. First the school nurse screened us, then i had to go my doctor and do it. My doctor was a boy, and i had to take my shirt off and i remember feeling totally violated that he had seen my boobs...even though they were merely buds at that point as i was screened in elemenntary school.... _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
OOH, I had to come back because I thought of something....does anyone else remember doing Scoliosis screening in gym class? My experience was my b*tch of a gym teacher and her assistant set up a table in the girls' locker room, then each girl had to one by one remove their shirts and bend over and whatever. That was horrifying for me. I remember my teacher barking at me what to do next, then hardly even paying attention to me because she was wrapped up in her conversation. Just remembering it makes me all ookey. Point? Oh, yes. How do they "diagnose" these kids as obsese? Just weigh them and send them they go by the BMI...WHO SCREENS THEM? I was just thinking about this and it brought back my 'repressed' memories of Jr. High torture. Because Scoliosis is something that really should have been done at my Well-Child exams...NOT in gym class...same with the weight thing. (You know, by someone with MEDICAL training?)
cgmaetc cgmaetc 10 years
Parents aren't the ONLY reason kids are overweight. The free lunches are created with the philosophy that lunch is the only meal the kids may eat, so they are loaded with fat, sugar, carbs, and sodium. Then they decrease recess time and eliminate PE is order to focus on test scores. Not to mention, many kids games have been removed from schools because they have been deemed 'dangerous', games such as tetherball, handball, kickball and tag. Many schools have also removed swing sets and jungle gyms because kids have gotten hurt, but no one asks the school superintendent why he only hired 2 playground monitors to watch what may be 150+ kids on the yard. -the ceeg
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Well written butterfly. "We want our kids healthy" should def be the message, and it certainly is coming across as "we don't want fat kids" _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
This is a lot like the drug-testing in schools thing... Taking a step back and looking at it from another point of view, I ask, "Who is going to pay for this???" Are the taxpayers yet again paying the schools to pick up where parents are lacking? I'm NOT for the "report card" - I hear your point, kscincotta, but regardless of whether it's a real health issue, it's still one that usually needs to be dealt with lightly (to avoid hurting feelings). I think a doctor would be more tactful than a letter home. Going back to the money thing, why don't they just take the funding for this and put it toward keeping the kids active while they are there?? They could apply it toward healthier foods, too! I think that would help schools send out the image of "We want our kids healthy!" instead of "We don't want fat kids."
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
People need to realize that these kids aren't being "reported" for their physical appearance - they are being reported because they are unhealthy. It would be just like the school calling home to say, hey, your 14 yr old kid was smoking in the parking lot or drinking in the bathroom! Being overweight is a certified HEALTH HAZARD and learning how to overcome that and have healthy life habits is very important. It's not like they're reporting a kid who's maybe five pounds overweight. They are measuring the BMI, which accounts for a whole range of healthy body types, including those that are naturally larger. But at a certain point, you can be too big, even if it is in your genes to be that way. And people, particularly kids, need to learn how to control their weight in a healthy way if they are at risk. And yes, it should be the responsibility of the parent to teach healthy life habits to their kids, but they don't always, particularly since many of them don't know how to be healthy themselves. And if the schools want to step up to the plate and try to help the parents help their kids, than great.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
Here here cravinsugar. It's too bad that there are such standards on physical appearance nowadays that people just cast aside who people are on the inside. You could have a perfectly fit individual with no weight problems whatsoever, who is also a complete jerk or bitch. It's a two-way street.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Hey nixievixiepixie- I have noticed that tolerance is only used when convenient. Because obesity is inconvenient (or so it seems), people don't want to be tolerant. I am fed up with it. Does anyone notice that obesity has gone up since the fashion world, the movie star world, most of society has made being fat such a crime? What happened when it was okay to wear a size 16 (marilyn monroe) and still be condiered sexy? Back then people were healthy. Now, a size 16 means you are picked last for dodgeball and people cringe when you sit beside them on a train. For me atleast, looking at what society deems okay, makes me feel worse and it is harder to do anything about it because i feel like i will never be that way...then i spiral out of control again. If you are big, and oyou like yourself, everyone should shut the hell up. if you are big, but healthy, again, people should shut up. If you want to lose weight, great! Go for it, good for you! If not, fine! that is your decision. Are they goingt inform parents of children who are underweight and tell them it promotes decreased brain function, etc? _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
That is just so wrong! Those poor kids. I don't think it should be an academic addition to kids' schooling. Every child is different, and their health is a personal issue. I think schools should take strides in improving kid's health and setting good examples, but I don't think it's fair or right to judge a kid's appearance. It would really hurt their self-esteem, especially at a time when their feelings are delicate enough. This also goes against teachings of being tolerant an not judgmental towards people based on their looks. Until you know someone from the inside out can you be allowed to form an opinion about him/her.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 10 years
Since society started deciding what is pretty and what is not. _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 10 years
Since when are kids getting graded on their body types?
YaoMing YaoMing 10 years
When I was in 5th grade one of my classmates went running to the teacher screaming "Teacher! Teacher!! Yao called me fat!" I was sooo scared that I'd get punished, but then he looked at her and said, "well....MAYBE YOU ARE!?"
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 10 years
Don't give the report card directly to the child to bring home. Mail it to the parents along with a letter explaining the problem. If the parent wants to tell the child, "your school says you are fat," then fine. But hopefully most parents will take this as an eye-opening experience and want to help their child by talking to them and encouraging a healthier lifestyle.
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
I think this could be okay in theory, because some people honestly don't recognize that their kids (and/or they themselves!) are overweight. However, a confidential letter in the mail (not hand delivered by the kid) would be better for the kid's self-esteem, and some information/assistance in helping address the problem would be very useful. You can't just say they have problem, you need to help them know how to fix it.
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