Some Arizona schools are going to be weighing and measuring students โ€” and sending notes home to the parents of those who are overweight.

According to an editorial in the Arizona Daily Star,

Beginning this fall the[Flagstaff school] district will measure and weigh elementary-school children and send letters to parents whose children are overweight or heading that way....we'd like to see the Flagstaff schools' program expanded statewide. Obesity is a public-health problem of monumental proportions (and no, the pun isn't intended) in this state and nationwide.

While it's true that a high number of children in Arizona are obese โ€” 31% โ€” and this is a real issue, this treatment thereof immediately sets off alarm bells. "Measuring and weighing" doesn't seem like a comprehensive mode of measuring a child's health โ€” and the "note" element seems both ineffectual and potentially stigmatizing for those children. The bigger question becomes, is this the school's job? A school has a duty to protect students from contagion โ€” say, flu or lice โ€” and an obligation to provide healthy food options. But beyond this, the question gets dicey โ€” and more to the point, will parents welcome the intervention? This seems like a doctor's purview. Immunization and certificates of health are necessary to start most school terms; if weight is a concern, surely a routine physical could be mandated too โ€” placing the question of a child's health in a doctor's qualified hands. And no one could object, surely, to a school teaching kids about nutrition โ€” that, after all, falls under "Education." But judging solely by size and weight sets a doubtful precedent.

Child Obesity Has Real Health Consequences [Arizona Daily Star]