Horribly Misguided School Sends Overweight Kids Home With Notes

Illustration for article titled Horribly Misguided School Sends Overweight Kids Home With Notes

Some Arizona schools are going to be weighing and measuring students — 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 — 31% — 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 — 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 — say, flu or lice — and an obligation to provide healthy food options. But beyond this, the question gets dicey — 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 — 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 — 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]



My daughter attended an after school program where they sent home a letter saying they were planning on weighing and measuring all the kids. With horrible memories of my own public humiliation firmly entrenched in my mind, and not conceiving of a single valid reason for an after school program to have this information, I called the director of this program and opted her out, explaining that I wished to spare my daughter the humiliation of a public weigh-in, and that her weight was between me, her and her pediatrician, who was actively tracking her growth. Ms Director assured me that Lil Tooty would not be required to participate. Imagine my irritation when just a few short days later, Lil Tooty came home and announced that she had been weighed and measured that day. Barely containing my anger, I said, "They were not supposed to have you do that. "But they said they would give me candy if I did!" Grrrrrr.