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Parents Object to School Weigh-Ins

Schools Send Kids Home With Fat Letters

In hopes of conquering a growing childhood obesity problem, schools in 19 states are weighing kids, measuring their body mass index, and sending notes home with students informing parents whether their kids are "healthy" or "overweight." But these "fat report cards" have created a firestorm among parents, who say such letters can harm kids' self-esteem and potentially trigger eating disorders, ABC News reports.

Officials say the measurements are useful in tackling the childhood obesity problem where kids spend 50 percent of their time — in school. BMI readings are "the best means we have to determine whether a child's weight is healthy or unhealthy," says Dr. Lanre Omojokun Falusi, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and a pediatrician.

Yet critics of the program say BMI readings are not always accurate, such as when a child has a lot of muscle mass, which increases their weight. Nor are BMI readings helpful, they say, when kids are entering adolescence, and receiving a number about weight can add to a child's stress.

"Their bodies are changing . . . And then they get this number that says, 'Oh, you know, you're not the right number.' It's just a horrible way to start womanhood," says Shannon Park, a mother of a 9-year-old and 13-year-old daughter. Many parents would like to see the weigh-ins, and subsequent report cards, banned from schools. But in the meantime, parents can notify their schools that they want to opt out of the weigh-ins. Does your child's school conduct weigh-ins — and do you find them appropriate?

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MrsB86 MrsB86 3 years
And I definitely agree with gym and recess. When I was little, we had an hour for gym and 30 minutes for recess. My youngest daughter has 30 minutes for gym and about 20 minutes for recess. These things should not be taken away from our children. But they also need play and exercise time at home as well. We can't put everything on the school's back. And I do agree with the BMI issue as well. It doesn't fit for the majority of people. But you know if your child is overweight or not. I don't understand why parents would rather let their child go down this route rather than take some friendly advice and information.
MrsB86 MrsB86 3 years
I agree with TrentRobertson. If your kid is overweight, they already have an eating disorder. Someone needs to let these parents know that their children are at risk. I'm sure doctors tell them all the time, and they just don't do anything about it. Maybe a second opinion might force them to do something. I think anyone who really has a problem with this PROBABLY has an overweight child. People are too sensitive with all of this, "It's vain. It puts too much focus on body image" garbage. I'm sure a child would lose more self esteem and self confidence when they can't run around and play like all of the other kids rather than getting a letter that could potentially help them out in the long run. And yes, our bodies are constantly changing during this time, however, it doesn't mean to let your kids be overweight and just hope for the best. Chubbiness is one thing, ESPECIALLY with girls, but to be overweight? There is no excuse for it. And blaming school lunches is just plain lazy. Send your kid to school with lunch. There. Problem solved. That's like saying, "Oh, the school didn't teach my kid about condoms and now they are going to be a teen parent!" Take some responsibility for yourselves and your children. And Mary Mullins (SamCapps), for you to not be a vain person, you sure did describe your family in an AMAZING sort of way. Not too sure what your opinion of your husband and promising that everyone would wish their husbands looked like him was all about, but ma'am, you are ridiculous. They are not just weighing and sending notes home to the overweight children. They are sending them home to everyone. Parents just don't want to be told anything about their children. Even if it could help. America is full of prideful fools and that is why we are in so much trouble. Body image isn't EVERYTHING, and you should be confident about yourself regardless, but this isn't about body image, this is about being healthy ON THE INSIDE! Bullying is a whole separate issue and that should be taken care of by all parents involved and the principal. It doesn't mean to not make sure that parents are aware of where their child's health is. "Oh, this could really hurt someone's feelings if I tell them they are overweight and unhealthy, so I will just say nothing and continue to let them overeat." Ridiculous.
Trent14429931 Trent14429931 3 years
Also, for those of you who want to criticize school lunches as a cause of obesity in children, remind you school lunches only account for 5 meals per week. What are the kids eating the other 19 meals a week and what are they eating for "snacks?" What are they drinking to hydrate themselves? Their lies the culprit.
Trent14429931 Trent14429931 3 years
A letter informing you that your kid is overweight won't "trigger" anything because it sounds like these kids already have an eating disorder.
SandraAustin43955 SandraAustin43955 3 years
I think it's sad that schools have to get so involved. Parents should teach their children about health. If they don't, they shouldn't have children. What's the use in having a child if a school ends up raising them! And honestly, who sets the guidelines in what is obese and what isn't? The same society that says everyone should look like a model! I have 2 children. The older one that's constantly teased about being "boney" because she's so tall and thin I can't find clothes to fit her. The second that's called "fat" all the time because she's half her sister's height but weighs the same. Both eat healthy and exercise. BUT THEY ARE DIFFERENT! We love them both the same. It wouldn't shock me if in the next couple of years they start scanning kids teeth every morning then send home a note saying, "Your daughter didn't brush her teeth today. Make her brush 5 min every morning or she will be expelled!"
Tara14875493 Tara14875493 3 years
Being a PE/health teacher and a personal trainer with 3 kids this is a little crazy. First off BMI is a horrible way to judge weight. I am 19% body fat and considered obese on BMI standards. They should leave it to the pediatrician/doctor to say something if they are worried about it. When I was a full time teacher I saw the kids for PE twice a month, maybe 3 time a month if the rotation was in their favor. I didn't even have time to cover health unless I was roaming the cafeteria giving them mini lessons. It would be more helpful to motivate and teach the kids why instead of just giving them a grade, this is doing NOTHING to actually solve anything! Schools are cutting PE and giving kids less time for recess, and there was not time in my curriculum to teach healthy eating the way I would like! Kids already know they are overweight from their peers and the fact is most kids that are over weight have parents that are in the same boat. I think the schools should all give themselves a "health" grade and judge the time the kids are moving, what they are eating, if there is vending machines etc....I am sure there would be few that would have the grade to judge their own students.
ShyannChristaHickey ShyannChristaHickey 3 years
also i was reading others comments and i agree that lunches should be more healthy .. they cut of the machines with junk but serve not so great foods in cafeteria.. and also gym classes should be kept and recess times should not be less.. these will help with the problem as well.. They shouldn't be attacking the younger children but they should be educating them on it. They should be getting to the parents because its the parents fault .. they let them grow up eating crap food.. and then when they do grow up they either continue or learn and get healthy or hurt them selves.. my point is that parents shouldn't be upset about this ,, this can be a positive thing.. you can get your kids healthy and to a good start in life,!!! :) and also you can get healthy too
ShyannChristaHickey ShyannChristaHickey 3 years
I definitely think they should keep this. There are so many over weight kids these days who's parents just feed them junk and crap all day. These letters should wake up the parents. If they parents don't want their kids to be upset about the letters then they should help them change . I cant believe how many over weight parents know that they are over weight and they keep feeding there selves crap food and then they know that what they are feeding their over weight kids is harming them.. wake up and do something good for them!!i think these letters will wake some people up. Dont want your kids to get depressed then start feeding them good food. throw your crap food out of house and stalk up on better foods. Do research ... Get more exercise.. If you care for your kids you will appreciate these letters and do whats right ..... I get so mad when i see how some parents let their kids eat what they want because they are only teaching them how to kill them selves..
TonyaLakey TonyaLakey 3 years
What a prideful stubborn society that we live in! Really?! People are saying it's going to hurt the child's self esteem, as if they don't already know that they are not at a healthy weight! WAKE UP AMERICA! We have an obesity epidemic and it is killing our future generations! These parents with children who are obese need to quit sitting in denial and face the facts! If your child is not at a healthy weight and neither are you then get off your fat butts and do something! I was 70 pounds overweight and realized that if I did not get healthy then I am leading my children down the same path of obesity! PLEASE people realize this IS AN EPIDEMIC that has overwhelmed our country with more than self esteem issues! Our nation's health is at RISK! We have young children diagnosed with Type2 Diabetes daily, young adults with heart disease and hypertension! We have to get our children and ourselves healthy!
Charly14867738 Charly14867738 3 years
If you're child received one of these letters and you want to share what you're doing about it please contact us. HLN-TV "Raising America" send an email to
kandicealosi kandicealosi 3 years
How about we stop cutting physical education funds at school!!! Stop putting the emphasis on these stupid BMI numbers and start teaching kids how to exercise in a fun and healthy way.
Julie14866933 Julie14866933 3 years
This is the worst idea ever! I am the mother of a kindergarten girl and a fifth grade boy. In today's world, my children make comments about body image, daily, that frighten me. And it is not just my daughter. I am concerned by things my so says, that he could easily cross that line into male anorexia. Both my children are extremely petite and skinny. They both play sports. They are both healthy. Yet a huge amount of pressure is on them daily, by everything from school to media, to be this perfect size and look. My children are being taught by the world that to be any larger than a waif is disgusting. This is robbing America's children of a happy childhood. I wish the world could go back even 20 years. Take away the switch to an electronic world. Give back recesses and outdoors and fun. Take away the processed foods of today and bring back true meals from the earth. Take away trying to make children into adults from the second they are born. Then you will see health come back to us. And joy come back to us. Shame on these schools and this government and this world!
SharonLetchford SharonLetchford 3 years
Something definitely needs to be done about childhood obesity - and certainly parents aren't the ones doing it so it needs to be forced, BUT - school would have to be the one of the worst places to be doing somehting like this. On the other side of the coin, it's difficult to understand why the fear of eating disorders should override the fear of one of the largest killers of Americans: obesity and it's related health problems.
AmySteiner97854 AmySteiner97854 3 years
Read "1984". Just another way "Big Brother" is trying to wiggle his way into our lives. The government does not know better than most parents how to raise a child. Stop listening to them and all of the other idiots who tell you they know your child better than you. You know your child and how to raise him/her. Be the parent and not just the best friend and all will work out. You will make mistakes. We all do. When you do, admit it and move on. Your kid will forgive you.
RacheleReyna RacheleReyna 3 years
I think it's rather hypocritical of the school system to go about this. I remember getting BMI reports in grade school and Jr High but physical education was also valued. You can't send a BMI report home and cut PE, recess, and other outdoor activities. Don't declare a problem while eliminating a solution at the same time. And don't get me started on the unhealthy, processed, reheated school lunches! It's really not that expensive to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables and less canned and frozen foods.
Jessica14859333 Jessica14859333 3 years
All I have to say about this is: Isn't that what we pay immense amounts of money to doctors for? So they can tell us the accurate health of our children? Why do schools feel it necessary to ALSO add to it and instruct parents. Do they feel that the doctors of our children are incompetitent? Schools are there to educate not to dictate to parents about their child's health and what they should be eating. If teachers, principals, super intendants, etc feel the need to "raise" a kid. They have the freedom to go make their own and the freedom to leave me and my child alone. Just my opinion.
LucyFlux LucyFlux 3 years
To me, it's not so much that schools are keeping tabs on the weight of students that is the problem, rather the way they go about giving families this information. Here in the UK we have had a system going for several years where children are weighed and measured in their first ear at school (aged 4-5), but you can opt out, and the results are sent home to parents via the post. So the only way the child would know about it is if the parent told them. The weighing itself is done in a very relaxed, fun way, without making a big deal out of it. My children are naturally skinny, although they eat loads and are very active, and with both of them we received a letter saying they were underweight for their height. The letter also pointed out that children can be underweight and healthy, but if we wanted any assistance with diet plans etc, support was available. A couple of my friends had a letter saying their kids were overweight but may also still be healthy and offering similar support and assistance. Neither myself or my friends were upset or offended by the letters we received, as you can look at our kids and see they are as fit as fleas, but it is good to know there is support available for those kids where there may be a problem.
JulieDillon JulieDillon 3 years
Information is the highway of sucess. Knowledge is power. These are the euthamisims I think of when it comes to this so called "fat mail" Call it what you will... My children have the right to be educated on the reality of what a unhealthy lifestyle, weight or BMI can lead to. (btw, that is under or over BMI) Obesity is the #1 cause for our healthcare crisis! It is killing Americans physically, and financially. Do you want the truth, or do you want to keep being lied to? Just because you are "healthy today" does not mean you or your children won't be a statistic?! I you are really worried about the children's "self esteem" then EDUCATE them. How will they feel when they find out they have been lied to? That the food you were feeding them lead to heart diesease, diabetites, or even cancer? That it did "run in the family" Reality is, the truth hurts sometimes, but it can save lives. Ultimately, it's the child who decides what will go from their hand into there mouth. People always ask me, "Why are you so healthy?" I say, "because I was sick." These letters do NOT define the person. It is simply researched based information. Being given to you. Use it, or not. That's the freedom of choice. But DO NOT blame others for you or your child's healthcare situation if you chose not to see the signs.
SophiaMahone1378535833 SophiaMahone1378535833 3 years
Haven't there always been chubby kids! Obesity has gotten out of hand, but the measures we have take to change this have gotten crazy. From putting disgusting looking "healthy" food on my child's lunch tray to opting to tell her she's fat, our government has done their worst. My plan is, give kids actual wheat bread and fresh vegetables as sides to a COOKED lunch. If our food quality resembled that of traditional Asian cuisine, more kids would buy school lunch, which would help them eat better. But that would cost money we don't have...
SamCapps SamCapps 3 years
I also want to make this known , I am unsure why my sis in law name comes up . But I am not SamCapps . I am Mary Mullins . Just in case anyone gets pissed by my opinions and words . :) . Feel free to send them my way . No worries to me !!
SamCapps SamCapps 3 years
Any of you that think that this is a great idea is nothing more than a vain (if u dont know the meaning pick up a dictionary ) pathetic parent. I am a petite 35yr old woman who has never had an issue with compliments. My husband 6"4 , 40yrs and i promise most of u wished your husband looked like him . Our two children are fit and healthy . I am not saying this out of anything else other than this . In today's society our children have so much pressure with every aspect of their life. The article said basically this might make them have a eating disorder. I disagree, it can be more than that . We all know children can be harsh to each other , but if a child is already being bullied by other kids do u not think that having the school weigh them and send a note home is not in a since being bullied by his own school. There has to be a better way to do it . Yes obesity in America is insane. But dont attack the young for it . Another thing . What I find funny is that if a school wants to do this and yes some of them take away the junk machines etc.. And yet they serve lunches that are "Pre Cooked, Pre Made , Preserved". That food is nothing but "bad"fat and salt " sodium chloride".
CoMMember13613650660124 CoMMember13613650660124 3 years
I have two skinny kids who are mostly sedentary and are allowed to have dessert and snacks as they wish. I was a chubby kid who walked to and from school every day and whose parents did not keep junk in the house because of my "problem." Maybe it's not always the fault of the parents. Lets not shame the kids by redundantly doing what the pediatrician has already done, anyway.
Julie-Growing-Days Julie-Growing-Days 3 years
My daughter came home from school last week, thrilled because she had one of the lowest BMIs in her class. I was appalled. I couldn't believe that all of our efforts to focus on positive self esteem through academics, athletics, and character and NOT focus on body image was undone in a PE class. We've been so careful not to focus on weight, because I know first hand how devastating it is to attempt to fit into society's ideals of perfect body image. Our daughter is thin. She's athletic. And she likes being thin...a little too much. And at this pivotal age, she's suddenly rewarded in school for her size?? I know this may seem trite to parents of children who struggle with obesity issues, but what about the parents who are trying so hard to ensure their kids don't end up with an eating disorder? So far, we've been lucky. But she's 12, and this is a critical age to ensure body image remains healthy, not obsessive. Am I watching her a little more closely now to make sure she eats enough? You bet. I didn't worry as much before last week, because it really is genetics--but her thrilled reaction to her BMI has me on my toes. I get the need for our kids to embrace a healthy lifestyle. I understand the emphasis on proper eating and exercise in our schools, because so many kids don't get support at home. But I draw the line at celebrating a kid's BMI, because that's just asking for trouble.
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