Back-to-school for New York school children will require stepping on the scale. A law going into effect this month will require NYC schools to report student weight and body mass indexes. The anonymous data will be kept by the state's Department of Health, unless parents opt out. In 2004, 21 percent of NYC third-graders were obese.
Recently Michael Phelps, Barack Obama, and John McCain have all come under fire from antiobesity groups. National Action Against Obesity thinks that Obama and McCain have failed to make childhood obesity, a major health problem facing the nation, a high-profile part of their platforms. In addition, they argue that the food and beverage industries influence the candidates' positions.
As for Michael Phelps, the Children's International Obesity Foundation thinks his deals with Kellogg's and McDonald's will do more to increase the problem. To see why,
One activist explained that the "endorsement will undoubtedly influence more children to nag their parents for products that endanger their health so that they can go home, consume these products, and gain weight instead of becoming gold medalists."
Some students may fear the embarrassment of a back-to-school weigh-in, but I'm sure activists like Richard Simmons are proud of NYC's dedication to fight childhood obesity. Do people like Michael Phelps have a responsibility to help kids slim down?