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Should Schools Measure Students’ Weight, BMI?

Twenty states have programs that see schools notify parents when their children are at risk for obesity-related issues. Is this a program all schools should implement?

Should schools be weighing students, and informing parents about their children’s measurements? Photo credit: Morguefile.
Should schools be weighing students, and informing parents about their children’s measurements? Photo credit: Morguefile.
By Jon Gargis 

The F’s more schools are becoming concerned with don’t stand for “failure”—they stand for “fat.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that schools in 20 states across the country have implemented programs that have schools measure a student’s weight and body mass index (BMI) when the school year begins. If a child’s BMI is above a recommended level, the school sends his or her parents a sealed note telling them their child is at risk for weight-related issues.

Children, the report says, have taken to call the notes “fat letters,” and have been sent out to parents of children as young as 6.

Childhood obesity has been a focus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an August 2013 report from the CDC says that about one in every eight preschoolers in the United States are obese. The report goes on to say that children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese in adulthood.

The report also looked at obesity among low-income preschoolers in 43 states—Georgia was one of the 19 states that saw a decline in obesity rates from 2008 to 2011.

Should schools be weighing students, and informing parents about their children’s measurements? Tell us in the comments.

richard powers September 11, 2013 at 04:16 PM
NO! I think the schools around here should take look at the staff and faculty first before they staring calling the kids fat. When and only when every member of the Forsyth County School System is at optimal weight, then MAYBE, with the parents consent they can do that. Remember the rule, "Set a good example?" Well a lot of the Forsyth County School System members fail that test miserably!
Dawg September 11, 2013 at 04:23 PM
No, absolutely not. Why does government feel they have to always be in the business of being in other people’s business?
LD September 12, 2013 at 07:51 AM
No. Determining if a person is "healthy" is the job of a doctor - not a teacher! @richard powers - Don't blame the school system for this unfunded mandate. It is GA law, O.C.G.A. 20-2-77 (http://www.fitnessgram.net/Georgia/) and the FitnessGrams are part of a school's score for the CCRPI (under "Exceeding the Bar"). Talk to your state legislators about this.
erinfitz8 September 16, 2013 at 07:25 AM
No! This drives me crazy! My 10 yr old son (who is very active, a year round swimmer, and a very healthy eater) is already self-conscious about his weight. In his FitnessGram it stated that his is at HIGH risk of becoming obese! Thank goodness it came in an envelope addressed to the parents....I choose not to show this to him. Schools should promote healthy lifestyle choices, but this is too much (especially for these elementary school kids that haven't gone through their growth spurts yet)!

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