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BMI Report Cards

In case you hadn’t noticed, your kids may be fat.  If you’re alive and breathing in the U.S., there’s a good chance that you or your children are overweight or obese. Did you like my little public service announcement?  You could be seeing more of this kind of thing coming from your child’s school.

According to a recent article on The Huffington Post, more schools are adding children’s BMIs to their report cards.  BMI stands for Body Mass Index and is a common measurement used to indicate whether or not a person’s weight is considered healthy.  Many schools across the country are already reporting BMI scores on report cards and all schools in Malaysia are now required to report this number along with other grades.

This doesn’t sit well with me.  Maybe it’s because I’m overweight myself and don’t like my own number.    I remember the stress of report cards and I don’t like the image of reading a report card and thinking, “I’m pretty good at math.  English needs work.  Oh, and I’m getting tubby.”  

Part of my hesitance about including the measure comes from the fact that it’s just that, a measure, one more thing for schools to keep track of when they’re already understaffed and overburdened.

I know that weight is a huge issue and it’s actually killing children.  I also know that things like hearing and vision screenings and dental checkups are being offered in schools because many children do not have access to decent health care at home.  Advocates like First Lady Michelle Obama and chef Jamie Oliver are fighting to get kids more active, bring healthy foods into schools and eliminate unhealthy choices for our kids. Oliver is currently waging a war on chocolate milk and the movement is gaining momentum.

I just don’t know if a report card is the right place to be alerting parents about their children’s weight problems.

What do you think?  Is including BMI scores on report cards a good idea?

Kathryn Thompson is a mom to two school-aged kids, a toddler, and a deceased betta fish. She can also be found at The Parenting Post, and occasionally the gym.