At Odds with School ‘Health Programs’

by Colette Moran

The first lady is taking credit for a drop in kids’ obesity rates, though she takes a lot of criticism for her efforts. But she isn’t the only one whose attempts to fight obesity in the young are controversial. A case in point is this story about ”fat letters” sent out to parents in Naples, Fla. Their children were determined to have high BMI scores from screenings administered by the school. 

“To give a kid a letter telling them the rest of their life they may be overweight or be obese because of a measurement you took one day, it’s just not fair,” said Kristen Grasso [a mom who received one of the letters].

Eating disorder experts, such as Claire Mysko, worry the screenings do more harm than good. “I would like to see BMI testing in schools banned,” Mysko said. “For those who are already insecure about their weight, these tests can potentially trigger an eating disorder.”

A panel of girls . . . said they dread the screenings. 

“I hate them,” replied student Zuzu Park-Stettner.

“It really doesn’t do much for people except for make them more insecure about themselves,” said student Carmen Kunkel.

Apparently such programs have been adopted in 19 states, even though the use of the BMI index to determine obesity has been questioned (especially in athletes and muscular children). Might be time to have a talk about with my kids about the health programs at their schools, and how they feel about them.