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NYC To Require Back-to-School Student Weigh-Ins

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?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Thanks Caterpillar. I knew someone would know what I was talking about.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
And I'd be MORTIFIED if I had to do a weigh-in at school. It's the parents that should be teaching the exercise/healthy eating habits. Taking your children to McDonalds every morning for breakfast (which I myself have a hard time NOT doing ;) ) is setting them up for a long list of problems later in life.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I don't think it's Phelps responsibility to promote healthier eating either. The man has to eat like a zillion calories a day just to maintain his weight. And for what it's worth, he did donate $1 million to childhood swimming programs, which in itself will promote a healthier lifestyle.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Agreed with Dave (destruction of the family) and lil (parenting) completely.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 8 years
They also said they would use the data anonymously, so basically they aren't doing this to help individual kids, they are doing it to gather a data set and do a study. So if a school implements a new change in the cafeteria or gym class they can check the data again the next year to see what kind of impact it had overall. They are looking for overall trends and they will most likely just do the measurements and jot them down.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
UGh the caliper test, nothing says "terrifying" than being in 7th grade, in front of EVERYONE and they pinch your arm fat. Frakkin presidential physical fitness test.
chocolatine chocolatine 8 years
UnDave35, that's the caliper test.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
What is the test then where someone uses a device that has two pinchers, that they squeeze the skin in three places, and it gives a percentage of body fat?
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I don't think Phelps has a moral responsibility to promote healthier eating. I feel sorry for the kids whose parents think that McDonald's equals dinner but that's the parent's issue, not Michael Phelps.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Here is the actual calculation at wikihow (sorry, couldn't find it anywhere else)
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
BMI just takes into account your height and weight and then lets you see if you fall into the normal range (which takes into account gender). I think it would be much more accurate to implement a system that takes into account body fat percentage, as well.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
UnDave, here is the bmi calculator at the CDC website: I am still looking for the actual calculation behind the scenes....I used to know it! :oops:
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
LOL, UnDave, I knew what you meant! ;-) And that is too bad that everything comes down to a number that way for your brother - numbers can be very misleading, since muscle weighs more than fat. Which kinda leads me to a question about this database that all of these numbers are going into - I wonder exactly how the state will use this information?
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
What is the BMI? I thought it was Body Mass Index. I also thought the BMI gave a percentage of fat. I could be wrong, as I think it's happened once or twice before.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Dave, I think you are thinking of something other than BMI. BMI isn't a percentage. Although, BMI is notoriously inaccurate for athletes, so maybe that's what you're referring to.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Thanks for ignoring my typos :) In a related story, my brother-in-law got activated, and is stationed at Ft. McCoy. He's in danger of failing the fitness requiremtent because he is "overweight" according to the military's standards. The problem is this guy is a fitness fanatic, and has a BMI of less than 10% (Yes, he's that muscular). He spent the labor day holiday running and complaigning about this. I told him the best thing he could do is sit down, and have a cheeseburger. He didn't find that funny.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
I don't see the point. They should be looing at body mass index, which is a better test of obesity. Agreed, UnDave, and the article says that they are collecting both weight and BMI. :-)
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
tdennis, I was thinking this exact thing when I was reading this! Sure it is ultimately the parent's responsibility to ensure that their child is getting healthy meals at home and isn't sitting on their butts playing video games all night long. But, what crap are they serving our kids in the school cafeteria? And what about physical education classes? They are being cut all over the place! One of the elementary schools where my sister lives and teaches (in Tennessee) cut their recesses from 3 per day to 2 and cut their physical education class from 3 times per week to once a week and rumor has it they are looking to eliminate it entirely next year! Crazy!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I know that my state has a program to help fight obesity, and its aimed at parental responsibility, if a Pediatrician (that works for the state) sees a child who is overwieght they educate the parents on proper nutrition, give them info on where to take nutrition classes (that are free) and moniter that child.
tcd4ever tcd4ever 8 years
Could we start by not serving fast food in the cafeteria? And may sodas too. Can we serve a variety of healthy choioces? The government should not try to fix this problem this way. They should offer nurtitional classes for every grade level and maybe implement a better choice plan.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Rabid, I never said you did say that. I disagree with one assertion you made. Geesh. :oy:
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
I never said the parent's were not the ultimate bearers of responsibility for our children's health and wellbeing. In fact, I am a VERY firm believer in healthy food, I was raised to believe in sitting down with family to enjoy meals, and enjoying them. The ultimate providers of that must be the family, whatever shape or form that family takes. Children should be encouraged to be outdoors as well as inside, and enjoy tempting things in moderation. BUT....BUT! ...I also stand firm behind the idea that letting companies recklessly market entire lifestyles (including shite food), letting them get contracts to public schools to provide empty, calorie-laden foods to kids is entirely, wholly unacceptable.
jessy777 jessy777 8 years
It is totally the parents fault when young children are overweight. I started to gain weight when I was 16 years old. I put on 200+ pounds until I was 22 years old. That is a huge amount. At 22 I stopped eating so much and began exercising like I was taught to do as a child. My mother taught me about nutrition and my entire family was active in sports. I am a stress eater and when at 16 I stopped playing basketball for a year due to injury I continued to eat but wasn't physically active. My mother warned me about my weight gain but I continued to eat in secret. I didn't balloon up until college when I became sedentary and continued to over eat. My weight at 22 was not my parent's fault but if I was a 200 lb 5th grader then that would be. I think this is a bad idea because children are already concerned about body image and to force them to be weighed at school can be damaging. Not to mention that schools aren't known for keeping confidential information secret. It always seems to leak. It is more important to educate parents and children on health and eating habits.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
wow - that's taking leaps and steps to change the way that kids are eating. in NYC - i think that it's going to make some type of impact - however i don't know if we'll see any changes as a result. it's always hard here in NYC when there are so many options for faster food that's not the healthiest - and we've seen that based on the lawsuits against mcd's here in the city. i hope that this makes kids more aware of things, and maybe we'll see that kids will become more active and develop better habits over the year. if they are able to incorporate education into the weigh in - then there could be a change.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I agree, bigestive. Um, hello, raise your kids. And if you take them on the occasional McDonald's trip, have them play outside instead of sitting in front of the tv; I'm sure they'll be just fine. The problem lies in lack of personality responsibility, lack of good parenting, and lack of being able to say NO to your child. *Disclaimer* I am not saying that all overweight children don't exercise or eat poorly. I am saying that this trend has come about because parents are too busy letting their children dictate their own lives instead of actually parenting and teaching their kids how to make healthy choices. However, I cannot agree with rapidmoon's idea that companies need to be regulated in regards to their marketing. It is the responsibility of the parent to say no to the child.
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