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Great, Now Schools Are Sending Letters Home With Fat Kids
Posted: 28 February 2013 09:04 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://jezebel.com/5987495/great-now-schools-are-sending-home-letters-with-fat-kids  Caution:  This is from Jezebel

Today in Shitty Happenings in Our Public Education System, schools in North Andover, MA are now sending letters home with kids who are considered underweight, overweight, and obese according to their BMI. This is especially bullshit because letters home in grade school are supposed to be for awesome stuff like field trips and getting the A-OK to consume birthday cupcakes. Thankfully, some parents are pissed about this, and they’re fighting back.

Two of these parents belong to Cameron Watson, an adorable ten-year-old student/MMA mini-fighter who was sent home with one of the scarlet fat letters. Anyone who spends two minutes observing this active kid could tell you he’s not obese; he’s fit. It’s a classic case of the BMI not accounting for muscle mass, and instead forcing everyone into its rigid, draconian chart. Further, even if he was a fat kid, don’t you think everyone in his world would know that by, er, looking at him? He doesn’t walk around all day wearing a garbage bag, and most everyone has eyeballs and brains. Seems pretty simple.

Is sending letters home informing parents that their fat kids are fat really a necessary step? For those who argue that some people don’t know their kids are fat/don’t understand proper nutrition/are confused by exercise — then wouldn’t it be better to focus on these things for all parents and kids? What about sending a letter home that says “Hey, kids are unhealthier than ever, and here’s some ways to improve your lives.” And if we’re so serious about helping kids become healthy, why not provide workshops, counseling, and other resources to help parents of all kids practice good nutrition and physical fitness at home? Singling out fat kids is not only unfair, it’s incredibly unproductive.

Even though the letter is awesomely not fazing Cameron, he still knows it’s mean. He says, “I don’t like that my friend’s feelings are being hurt.” If it’s something so simple that a ten-year-old boy can understand it, why are adults so slow to pick it up? Do people honestly not remember what it was like to be that age at all? Refresher: It’s almost impossibly hard, and calling out fat kids isn’t helping anyone. Maybe it’s time to try something new.

P.S. there’s a video for examples on the site

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Posted: 02 March 2013 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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So, there are fat people in America… Wow!

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Posted: 02 March 2013 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I wonder how many of those precious little snowflakes are gonna get their panties in a wad and carry a gun to school out of rage over the embarrassment… ...

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Posted: 03 March 2013 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m in two minds about this. Clearly the example of Cameron Watson represents a mistake. He does not look overweight to me.

On the other hand if we accept there is an Obesity Crisis then something needs to be done. I don’t know if these particular letters are the answer but I am hearing that the current generation in the US could have shorter lifespans than previous generations.

I’m obese myself. I find this issue a bit confronting. What are we protecting here? Is it the right for kids not to be upset or is it the right for kids to have healthy long lives?

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Posted: 03 March 2013 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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A large part of the problem is that many authorities are stuck on using the BMI scale to judge a persons health.  My BMI is over 30 and while I used to carry a few extra lbx I don’t have many to spare now.  The problem is that I have a rather more solid skeletal structure and more muscle than most people my size.  Hence I am going to weigh more for my height which in turn increases my BMI to put me in the obese range.  Fortunately my Dr is not someone who believes BMI should be used in that manner. 

The BMI measurement does not take into account factors such as those which ensures that anyone who does not conform to the scale is labeled incorrectly.  There are much more accurate measurements to determine whether a person is truely obese.  Until such a time as education catches up with reality though, nothing is going to change and you are going to end up with uneducated individuals making decisions based on a flawed system.

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Posted: 03 March 2013 10:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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gray - 03 March 2013 10:03 AM

A large part of the problem is that many authorities are stuck on using the BMI scale to judge a persons health.  My BMI is over 30 and while I used to carry a few extra lbx I don’t have many to spare now.  The problem is that I have a rather more solid skeletal structure and more muscle than most people my size.  Hence I am going to weigh more for my height which in turn increases my BMI to put me in the obese range.  Fortunately my Dr is not someone who believes BMI should be used in that manner. 

The BMI measurement does not take into account factors such as those which ensures that anyone who does not conform to the scale is labeled incorrectly.  There are much more accurate measurements to determine whether a person is truely obese.  Until such a time as education catches up with reality though, nothing is going to change and you are going to end up with uneducated individuals making decisions based on a flawed system.

OK. It sounds like they need a team of experts going to the schools rather than relying on the local staff.

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Posted: 04 March 2013 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Maybe not experts Peter, but certainly people who know how to judge a persons state correctly as opposed to just saying, “You have a BMI over 30 so you’re fat.”.

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Posted: 04 March 2013 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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gray - 04 March 2013 09:10 AM

Maybe not experts Peter, but certainly people who know how to judge a persons state correctly as opposed to just saying, “You have a BMI over 30 so you’re fat.”.

Yes, calling children names is a disastrous idea. Intervention for children who are overweight should use properly worded communication. Using letters is not a bad idea in itself, although maybe they should just mail them instead of giving them to the children involved (for other children to see).

From what I understand, BMI is still a useful tool if used correctly.

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Posted: 04 March 2013 10:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I am assuming part of the alarm is early diabetes in children who are obese as well as the alarm that many of these children are also showing very high cholesterol levels.  But the term ‘fat’ does not define those parameters either and neither does BMI as all of you have clearly stated.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I can understand the schools being concerned with children’s weight, but I definitely think that letters should just be mailed home with a statement about why, specifically, the school is concerned.  Something along the lines of, “Dear Mr. and Mrs. X, it is our policy to conduct a yearly physical during P.E. class.  During your child’s physical, the nurse noted that his BMI indicates that he could be considered overweight/obese.  It is our recommendation that you do a follow-up with your child’s regular physician to ensure that there are no health issues which are not being addressed.  Sincerely, etc.”

That way the parents could take the student to the doctor, find out if there are any problems or not, and if the doctor says all is good, then they can send a letter back to the school saying, “Thanks, we’ve taken our child to his doctor, Dr. Y, and were informed that the kiddo is in perfect health” (or “Dr. Y has said that this is a problem and we are taking steps to address it”).  That way there is communication between the parents and the school, without bringing undue attention to the students at school.  A lot of the comments from that article are from people who had their weight or BMI announced out loud at school, which can be humiliating and lead to a negative body image, if they didn’t already have one.

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Posted: 05 March 2013 06:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree Crafty.  And incidentally, here’s a video of a 10-year old athlete who received a FatLetter!  http://news.yahoo.com/video/fat-letter-sent-parents-10-222644135.html  are you KIDDING?  Sure doesn’t look FAT to me!!!

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