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Note from School: Your Kid's Fat!

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Will giving kids weight screenings at school help stop childhood obesity?

obese-kids.jpg
Starting this year, Massachusetts schools will be sending home report cards that are a matter of life or death. According to the Boston Globe, comprehensive BMI (Body Mass measurements) will be issued to parents of students that will gauge whether their child is at a safe weight. The state hopes the scorecards will assist parents in combating childhood obesity.

But the dissemination of this information isn't getting high marks from health professionals. "Focusing on body image is the wrong way to go," says Haylie J. Pomroy, nutritional counselor. "The focus should not be on body image but lifestyle choices."

Although Pomroy is wary of the repercussions of sending these kind evaluations to parents, she does understand the thinking behind it. "Childhood obesity is a crisis, and any time there's a program to raise awareness it's a good thing." Ultimately, Pomroy thinks the BMI testing is unnecessary. "Most parents know if their child is struggling with weight issues," she says.

If parents really want to keep their kids at a healthy weight, says Pomroy, mother of two, they need to instill in kids the empowerment of healthy food choices and not focus on fat or thin.
Pomroy says she practices what she preaches too. "I tell our kids about foods that make them run faster and build their immune system and which foods are 'brain foods.' Like if they have a test coming up, I tell them to eat carrots to get ready."










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83 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rachel April 9, 2009, 9:54 PM

Good! I am amazed at how many parents allow their children to become overweight or obese. I mean, seriously, your 4 year old doesn’t need a big mac and large french fry. How about an apple?! There really is no excuse for overweight children.

shut up. April 10, 2009, 12:11 AM

seriously? they need to send home anote? that is right people can’t tell when they look at their kid they are overweight. This is the most ridiculous thing ever. Rachel you really can’t judge everyone and their overweight kids. SO you should keep your ill advised dumb opinions to yourself. BTW their kids obesity is NONE of your business.

Anonymous April 11, 2009, 2:33 AM

“Shut up”, are you just upset cuz you were about to take your kids to mcdonald’s? or are you overweight and sensitive too?

Yvonne Fricker April 13, 2009, 6:33 PM

We solved that problem by using Warmables.
Our kids never ask for school lunches again.School lunches make them gain weight!
We cook what they choose at home and we keep the food warm until lunch with Warmables.
Problem solved.
We found it at www.warmables.com.


Heather April 25, 2009, 3:03 PM

Okay.. this hits a sore spot with me and I’m a little upset with “shut up“‘s response and Rachel’s.

I agree that it is almost always a parent’s fault that their child is overweight.. but rachel, the way you phrase it comes off as seriously offensive. Low income families, for example, may have a difficult time keeping their children lean and fit because the cheapest foods are very fattening. For this reason, our food stamp program needs to be expanded since it still is based upon cost of living from 30 years ago.

I, personally was one of those fat kids growing up. I’m not exactly sure why because I don’t know exactly what my family fed me, but I do know we weren’t allowed to have cookies, candy, etc.

Rachel, you seem to have a sheer contempt for overweight people that baffles me and that kind of… we’ll say “meanness” as the nicest word I can use… is one reason why this program is iffy. You come across as callous and uncaring. Those children develop permanent psychological disorders based on the teasing of kids at school- you seem like the type of person who would be doing the teasing. I won’t even get into the rate at which childhood suicides are rising.

I think the keyword here is understanding. It’s not the child’s fault, period.. and sometimes it’s not the parent’s fault- kids have different body types, different metabolisms, etc. I don’t think the solution is to call attention to how fat a child is. It won’t help the parent because it’s nothing the parent doesn’t know and it will only make things worse for the child.

What we need to focus on is education. I don’t know about you guys, but the last time I was in school they served french fries and burgers beside the salads. You want your kids to make good healthy choices? That’s fine.. but remember that children’s brains are undeveloped and their impulse resistance skills are… not so great. I say we should take unhealthy food out of schools altogether. We should have healthy and nutritious vegan options (as that’s the healthiest way to eat) and no temptation for children who don’t have the skill set yet to resist or think ahead.

shut up- this is obviously a sore subject with you too (something anonymous used to target and hurt with). A child’s obesity, however, IS the business of others as much as any other form of child neglect or abuse. If the child’s diet is physically hurting them and causing long term damage, then it’s a concern, period. I think there’s way too much focus here on weight and not enough on the health of the child.

Wendy April 27, 2009, 4:11 PM

I hardly think that schools are in the best position to be advocating healthy choices. Have you ever seen a school lunch or what passes for *healthy* treats at snack time?

HealthGal April 29, 2009, 11:54 AM

I have to share the fact that though we are all understandably reacting to the swine flu scare with appropriate fear - for ourselves and our kids - I wish many more would react the same way to adult and childhood obesity. It’s a complex problem with many, many contributors and causes but the reality is there is alot of denial going on at home. Doctors and pediatricians don’t want to “bring it up” for fear of alienating or insulting parents.” In that case the kids are the losers. In the case of school - let’s atleast agree that it’s reasonable for there to be a way to alert parents -who may not have the education or willingness to recognize - that their kids are indeed carrying enough weight to put them at risk for hypertension - diabetes type 2 - even premature heart disease. How many parents themselves are overweight or were raised with “fat habits” that they are simply passing on to their kids? How many are frustrated that they indeed have a child among several children who seems to gain weight faster? If we ignore it - we perpetuate the problem and the stakes are really dangerous. So I agree - there are better ways to communicste the information and there had better be more accessible health care support to help families of all socio-economic levels to work as a family unit - with support from doctors, dieticians and nutritionists, fitness professionals and therapists. And yes, if schools are going to raise the “alarm” they need to bring back PE in a fun way, add nutrition education to even grade school syllabus and change the food offered in the lunchroom and vending machines. But parents need to get on board and take this seriously, without offense, and without feeling like someone is pointing a finger at them. It is about - saving the kids - with the same urgency that we are dealing with wine flu.
www.fatfamiliesthinfamilies.com

sara May 4, 2009, 8:56 PM

My 5 year old’s been in the 95th percentile for weight (and 75th for height) since he was 6 months old. We’ve asked our pediatrician (actually three different ones) for advice… and without exception, they’ve all said not to put him on any sort of restricted diet as it can affect growth. The advice we do follow is TV

Quite frankly, unless the schools are planning to offer consultations with pediatric endocrinologists or nutritionists, I’m not sure how the note will help. In fact, especially among very young kids, I fear that some over-zealous parents may cause more harm than good. Leave the counseling to the pediatricians when the kids go for their annual school physicals.

sara May 4, 2009, 9:01 PM

OK…the advice got cut off…
1) TV/Computer 2) Active outside play at least 1 hour, preferable 2 hours per day
3) Fill 1/2 the plate with fruits and veggies
4) No beverages other than water or skim milk

It hasn’t changed his weight, but it is setting him up with some healthy habits. Ped is willing to send us for a pediatric endo consult when he’s at least 7, not before that.

Jarrow June 26, 2009, 6:52 PM

A better program would be to simply include “health and wellness” as a normal grade in the report card. A lot of kids are competitive — getting straight A’s in academic subjects and a D- in Health and Wellness would probably service one heck of a wake-up call. : )

Many schools in foreign countries mandate participation in some club activity, adding that to a standardized health and wellness syllabus containing active events could be just the thing to encourage students and their families to develop better life habits.

Jason Jeannotte October 19, 2010, 4:38 PM

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here but it could do with more detail. - That’s what’s cool about working with computers. They don’t argue, they remember everything and they don’t drink all your beer. Attributed to Paul Leary

Justin Jelks October 19, 2010, 5:17 PM

Strange this post is totaly irrelevant to the search query I entered in google but it was listed on the first page. - On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done just as easily lying down. - Woody Allen Born 1935

Jonathan Juelfs October 19, 2010, 5:55 PM

Just read it and went gosh, I know why I was poor in the debate class. - Died: 0000-00-00 - Woody Allen Born 1935

Jack Jutras October 19, 2010, 7:51 PM

Strange this post is totaly irrelevant to the search query I entered in google but it was listed on the first page. - Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends. - Woody Allen Born 1935

John Jaffee October 19, 2010, 8:29 PM

Interesting point of view.Thanks for the post. - Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half-shut afterwards. - Benjamin Franklin 1706 - 1790

Jack Jergens October 19, 2010, 9:07 PM

I was studying something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is novel. - Organized crime in America takes in over forty billion dollars a year and spends very little on office supplies. - Woody Allen Born 1935

Jack Jeter October 19, 2010, 10:20 PM

I was studying something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is novel. - Any given program, when running, is obsolete. Attributed to Laws of Computer Programming

Joshua Jopling October 19, 2010, 10:56 PM

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here but it could do with more detail. - I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland. - Woody Allen Born 1935

Jack Jorden October 19, 2010, 11:32 PM

Came clueless, left worried. Thanks for the post. - If you don’t know how to do something, you don’t know how to do it with a computer. Attributed to Anonymous

Joe Jeffreys October 20, 2010, 1:21 AM

This is a good approach to what, for some, may be a controversial topic. Very well though out post. - I’m not afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens. - Woody Allen Born 1935


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