Fat Report Cards Issued to Massachusetts School Children

school-girlMassachusetts 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.


Children's BMI chart (via Health.com)

Source: Boston Globe

One Response to Fat Report Cards Issued to Massachusetts School Children

  1. Heather K says:

    They’ve got to be really careful with this. Hopefully they have trained professionals doing the BMI screenings because a lot more goes into a BMI screening for children and teens than for adults. It’s not just weight and height let’s find out where you fall on the chart it’s also age and gender specific. Other countries also have different BMI charts so do they take ethnicity into consideration too? Very murky waters, I hope they proceed with caution.

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