One school district’s approach at combating obesity is facing criticism from parents of students who received “fat letters.”
Schools in North Andover, Mass., measured students’ height and weight to determine their body mass index.
Parents of students with high BMIs received letters from the school informing them their child was classified as “obese” and advising them to talk to their pediatrician, according to a Huffington Post article.
Parents gave the notifications a nickname: fat letters.
“I have come across many parents whose children are perfectly fit, healthy and active in sports, but muscular in build and are reporting that they’ve received letters stating their child is obese or at risk for obesity,” parent Bridget Martin told the North Andover Patch. “Some of these children laughed at these letters stating that they are obese because they know it is ridiculous, while others become upset, depressed and ashamed, even though they are far from obese.”
The BMI testing is the result of a 2009 initiative by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health requiring public schools to calculate the BMI of children and teens of certain ages and send the results to the children’s parents along with instructions for parents on dealing with the child’s weight issues.
The letters aren’t only sent to the homes of overweight children. Underweight kids get the letters as well, according to the Patch story.
Obesity rates among children have doubled in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. (In Clark County, 22 percent of teens are overweight or obese.)
So what do you think: do the letters go too far?