Should Parents Receive ‘Fat Letters’ from Schools About Their Kids? [POLL]
How would you feel if your child’s school sent home a letter telling you that he or she is overweight?
While New Jersey has no such law, 21 states have enacted policies or made recommendations regarding the collection of height and weight data or assessment of body composition in public schools. However, New Jersey’s State Board of Education Administrative Code requires annual height and weight screenings for each student in kindergarten through grade 12.
“No parent would be proud to receive a letter stating their child is in the overweight or obese category, but the awareness and acknowledgment that he or she could have a weight problem begins the process of a multidisciplinary approach to change. It is time to put aside this pride for the future of our children’s health,” writes author Michael R. Flaherty, DO, a pediatric resident physician at Baystate Medical Center, Springﬁeld, Mass., and clinical associate at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
While many of us balk at the idea of getting a letter from the school telling us, as parents, that our child is overweight, we must first realize that schools have long been utilized as vehicles for public health assessment and intervention. Dating back over the last century, schools have weighed, measured height, screened hearing and vision and vaccinated children, and sent letters home when a problem has been uncovered. So, in one sense, this type of screening and suggestions for intervention is nothing new.
Since some parents live in denial that there could be any thing wrong with their children, perhaps seeing it in writing could help them curb their child’s appetite, or change their diet for the better. How do you feel? Take our poll below and let us know what you think.