Massachusetts took a major step forward today in the fight against childhood obesity by unanimously voting to screen children in the state’s public schools for obesity. A record of a child’s BMI will be sent home to parents, nicknamed the “fat report card.”
In Fall 2009 the screenings will begin, and students in grades 1, 4, 7 and 10 will be tested. Parents will have the option to opt-out. In addition to the BMI (Body Mass Index), which is a standardized method of determining how under or over weight a person is, the report card will also share ways in which parents can help their child’s weight and encourage parents to meet with a pediatrician.
“We think it would be a mistake to just send home a number and leave parents hanging without providing an interpretation,” said Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director of the state Department of Public Health.
A healthy, or normal, BMI can range from 14 for a two-year-old to 26 for an 18-year-old.
Source: Boston Globe