My children, are far from obese. I would even venture to say, that my oldest two aren’t even overweight. According to Fort Bend ISD in Texas, I am wrong.
Kylie, our 13 year old daughter, asked me last night, if she was overweight. I looked at her really funny and told her “no way!” But then, I wanted to know why she felt that way. Kylie is very self conscious. As a victim of past bullying (unrelated to weight), Kylie has put a lot of time and effort into her appearance and health. She has seen how mean kids can be, and she stays active, places concern with portion control, and keeps up with herself so that she doesn’t fall victim again.
Apparently, her gym coaches were doing the Body Mass Index screening, and they told her she was overweight. This bothered her so badly, that she pulled me aside, whle in the comfort of her own home, away from her brothers and dad, to ask me if she was overweight.
Isn’t that sad?
Meet Braxton. He’s our 7, almost 8 year old kiddo. His stature is the smallest of our four kids. His school says he’s almost obese.
I got a letter from his school yesterday – 6 months after screening, might I add…
Your student, (HIS FULL NAME), was measured for height and weight on 9/29/11 as part of the campus regular health screening. The height and weight measurements is used to determine a body mass index or BMI. BMI is used by doctors and nurses to help identify underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese children. The percents used are below:
- Underweight BMI less than 5%
- Within Normal Range BMI 5% to 84%
- Overweight BMI 85% to 94%
- Obese BMI greater than or equal to 95%
Your child’s results showed:
- Height: 50.25
- Weight: 67.60
- BMI-for-age: 93.06%
The letter then goes on to say that there are, in fact, other factors like sports activities and family history, that can increase the BMI for kids, so take them to a health care provider to find out if they are in a healthy range or not, but that’s not my concern.
I’m bothered by this screening, not because I don’t think that childhood obesity is a noteworthy cause, but because I don’t believe that a BMI (which as stated is an extremely unreliable measurement of a person’s healthy weight status) should define a child, or label them at such an early age.
Suddenly, this study by CCTS means nothing to me:
Currently, 58% of adults and 39% of children are classified as overweight or obese in the Greater Houston community.
If my child is in that classification, then this number is far from off.
I want to know why I am expected to make changes at home, when my child is at school for more waking hours than he is home? Really, this isn’t just about me. It’s about everyone in America who sends their kids to public schools.
We try to provide healthy, well balanced meals here at home (although Braxton is our pickiest eater!). We send our kids to school with a sack lunch every day because the food served in the cafeterias include pink slime, ice cream bars, Gatorade, cookies, high sodium, pre-packacked foods, and more. Not to mention what is being eaten in the classrooms as “rewards” for doing the right thing (what happened to just DOING the right thing because it’s the right thing?). Braxton has come home several times with mini-candy bars or gum for various reasons.
Where is Jamie Oliver’s School Food Revolution when we need him!?
I also got a letter in his backpack, yesterday, that I owe the cafeteria money. Apparently, Braxton forgot his lunch one day and had to eat at school. The invoice is for $4.00. How, in the world, can a child, who does not have a lunch account set up at school, rack up a $4 lunch in on sitting? I’ll tell you how. Everything he purchased that day were a la carte items which included ice cream and chocolate milk. What happened to a PB&J and calling it even?
As far as physical activity goes, let’s not forget what the standard punishment is, for a parent not signing the daily planner, not completing homework, or not reading for their allotted minutes the night before. In our elementary, it’s sitting out for a certain amount of time at recess. Think about that. Not only are kids getting LESS THAN 30 minutes a day, in some cases, for structured physical activity, but their free play is often taken away as punishment for some things that are out of their control.
Texas mandates at least 135 minutes of moderate or vigorous structured physical activity per week in elementary school (grades K-5, or K-6, depending on the district), but it does not required daily recess. Full day kindergarten students, and to the extent practicable, PK students in half day programs, are to participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity for 30 minutes each day. The state also mandates at least 30 minutes per day of structured moderate-to-vigorous structured physical activity in junior high (grades 6-8 or 7-8, depending on the district).
So, Fort Bend ISD, I ask YOU – What changes are YOU going to make in eating, physical activities, and other areas to help make our children more healthy?