New York schools will monitor students' weight

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, In The News

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New York Schools will soon be tracking more than reading, writing, and arithmetic, they'll also be watching students' waistlines. Starting this fall, New York Schools (excluding New York City) will be required to collect and report on students BMI, which is a number based upon a person's height and weight. The data will be collected in annual health physicals which are required for attendance, and will be submitted in the second, fourth, seventh, and tenth grades.

The goal is to be able to track where childhood obesity is a problem so that district leaders can offer parents and children resources for leading a healthier lifestyle. But some people are asking the question: Does this kind of information belong in the hands of school and/or state officials? Is childhood obesity a government problem or a personal, family matter?

5 Must-Know Kids Health Facts(click thumbnails to view gallery)

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Kids are routinely weighed at school anyway. (Remember the dreaded Presidential Fitness Awards? Or was I the only one who dreaded them? Those body fat calibers... shiver.) If children need to have a doctor's appointment anyway, and if weighing-in is a routine part of that physical, and if this information is then later reported anonymously without names attached, I can't see a problem with it. That way, schools as a whole can be targeted for health education. But if kids are having their names stuck into some kind of obesity file and are being singled out, then I might have a few questions. Childhood is hard enough. What do you think?

Do you think schools should monitor the weight of their students?
Yes. Childhood obesity is a major issue, and families need help.608 (49.0%)
No. It's nobody's business how much my kid weighs.574 (46.3%)
Other -- share with us in comments.59 (4.8%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.