I agree with Stacey that the idea that all kids get a letter to parent/guardian to say how tall/how much they weigh and the BMI calculations is a better way to go.
I don't expect my kid's school to tell me their health concerns since I bring them for check ups. Maybe only identify the kids who are not going yearly and advise parents on their general health?
To the first paragraph: Not necessarily. BMI is a calculation of weight to height, so a child who is muscular, perhaps from playing soccer year round or just lucky genes, might have a higher BMI than they really should, kwim?
Originally Posted by ethanwinfield
To the second: a higher or lower BMI doesn't necessarily mean a child is healthy, or even unhealthy. Tiven tends to chunk up and then sprout up. That's been her pattern since birth. A BMI measurement at the wrong point in time might deem her unhealthy at either end of the spectrum when in fact she's 100% active & healthy. That's what I don't like, a snapshot measurement, it says absolutely nothing about a child's overall health.
To the third paragraph: chunky is not the norm here, at least not for the kids. Our school is very big on physical activity, good nutrition (no cupcakes for birthdays or candy on Halloween), drinking only water, and our PTA pays for P.E. programs that the district has cut. We have tons of options & opportunities for kids & parents to get active year round, subsidies to help with registration fees, uniform exchanges, etc. And right now, the kids who tend to be overweight are still getting support from their classmates, encouragement to join running club, invitations to join a team, not being last to be chosen for games, and I don't want to see weight becoming an issue for them where it isn't now, but I can see that happening if they start learning that "fat letters" are going home to some of them.
Stacey, that growth pattern happened to dd1 once. She gained weight but hadn't done a height burst and her BMI was just under "overweight". She evened out w/i a month when she grew. Now she's consistently where she should be.
But we can't base the policy on the exceptions. For the past 2 years I've received a letter notifying me that my daughter has too many absences. In 3rd grade it was 12; last year 10. Today is day 17 of school. She's already missed. She's also been to the doctor for all but 3 of those 23 absences. She's been on week-long breathing treatments for 4 of them. Does that mean the school should stop sending letters to all of the parents whose kids have 10 or more absences?
Originally Posted by Spacers
The kids around here are very active. PE daily for 45 minutes. Many walk up to 2 miles to and from school. A lot of it has to do with diet, genetics, and attitudes.
No system of measurement is fool-proof. That doesn't mean we should abandon all measurements.
And my children were 100% active and healthy until they weren't.
I finally read the article.
I don't see the negative. The smart thing is to send a letter to every parent, with the results. It gets mailed out; nobody knows about it except the parents who receive it.
Interviewing a 13-year-old who says she feels insecure about her weight is not compelling. Many, many 13-year-olds are insecure about the way they look, a letter or no letter is not going to change that.
But making parents aware of health issues potentially facing their children is not a negative to me. We have an obesity problem in this country, plus we have kids with eating disorders, I don't see how it's negative to have another check for that. Don't make the results public, then you don't have a problem. Make sure the kids get weighed in private. (Actually this wouldn't apply to the youngest grades as I doubt they care.)
I'm not sure what the negative is or how it's harmful unless you're announcing their weight out loud and saying if it's over or under weight when you do so, like that first season of America's Next Top Model.
I agree that the way to do it is to mail a letter home to every parent so that no one sees the results, and everyone gets a letter. I agree that the kids already know who is fat and who isn't (then again, if we assume the kids already know, wouldn't we assume that the parents know too?) but I still think that the letters have a risk of being a trigger for more teasing so they should be handled sensitively. That's disheartening about the healthy food being thrown in the trash. It just kind of confirms to me that we need to get the families in on the act of reinforcing healthy eating habits; schools can't do it on their own. It reminds me of when we debated schools selling hummus and veggies instead of chips at sporting events, and so many people were so sure that kids would never eat hummus. And they were probably right, if their kids had never had hummus before. My five year old loves hummus, but that's only because we always eat it so it's not weird for him. Same thing for those healthy lunches; I assume that if the kids were getting whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies at home, it wouldn't be weird for them.
I am not sure how I feel about this. In a really great version of reality all parents would be versed in what healthy weights were and what impact they were having on the long term health of their children. So schools could focus solely on educating children and not have to take time to deal with health screening.
But in real life parents are not taking charge of their children's health. With the amount of overweight and obese children it is obvious a lot of parents are not monitoring that effectively. Today was the first day of school for public school here and on my way to work at 730 there were 2 boys that looked like they were struggling to walk and both were drinking huge sodas.
BMI should only be used by parents as one way to measure. Last year my oldest DD was super worried because her BMI had gone up quite a bit putting her close to the overweight number (she was told this during her sports physical) Over the last year she has grown almost 5 full inches and now all her clothes are falling off her. I continually told her BMI measurement was only one indicator but she really worried about that number