When Body Fat Affects Report Cards

If you were an elementary school student, which would upset you more: being picked on as the fat kid in class or having the teacher mention it on your report card? The Chicago Tribune reports:

Elmhurst students have long been checked on how long it takes to run a mile or whether they can do a pushup. But another physical fitness assessment tool has some parents fuming — one that aims at finding out whether their kids are too hefty.

A child’s “body mass index,” a computation of body fat based on height and weight, was one of six tests used at Hawthorne Elementary School to determine the physical fitness grade on a student’s progress report.

But that practice ended abruptly Tuesday after about 25 parents met with school officials to express their displeasure with how the BMI data were being used. One mother broke into tears as she described how it affected her fourth-grade daughter.

[Continues at Chicago Tribune]

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  • E.B. Wolf

    I’m all for schools making it a priority for kids to learn healthy fitness habits, but the BMI calculator is a terrible system for determining fitness. It does not take into account structural differences in people’s frames.

    For example, an adult man may be 6’2″ and weigh 260 lbs. According to the BMI system, that man is obese. Perhaps there should be an intervention for NFL players, Olympic wrestlers, and professional heavyweight fighters since, according to the BMI system, many of them are obese.
    BMI does not take into account whether the pounds on a person’s frame consist of fat or muscle, and tells nothing about the person’s general physical fitness.

  • E.B. Wolf

    I’m all for schools making it a priority for kids to learn healthy fitness habits, but the BMI calculator is a terrible system for determining fitness. It does not take into account structural differences in people’s frames.

    For example, an adult man may be 6’2″ and weigh 260 lbs. According to the BMI system, that man is obese. Perhaps there should be an intervention for NFL players, Olympic wrestlers, and professional heavyweight fighters since, according to the BMI system, many of them are obese.
    BMI does not take into account whether the pounds on a person’s frame consist of fat or muscle, and tells nothing about the person’s general physical fitness.

    • Ironaddict06

      RIght. Determining whether kids are fat or not should be done as accurate as possible. Body fat % should be used as the test. But to do that teachers would have to touch kids stomach, arms, and legs that would make some parents mad that someone touched their child.

      • quartz99

        And rightfully so. Medical determinations should be done by a doctor, not a teacher or school administrator. There are a lot of causes of obesity and just not being active enough is only one of those causes. Teachers are not qualified to decide what’s healthy for a child and in fact some of the “solutions” I’ve seen put forward by schools can seriously hurt children who have other causes (such as those that are blood sugar or hormone imbalance related). Leave the medicine to the people who spend a decade learning how to practice it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=580380351 Potter Dee

    Bravo! If we don’t start attacking obesity directly, if we don;t turn it into something to be ashamed of, we’re doomed as a nation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=580380351 Potter Dee

    Bravo! If we don’t start attacking obesity directly, if we don;t turn it into something to be ashamed of, we’re doomed as a nation.

    • Word Eater

      I was skinny as hell until I hit my 20′s; now I’m a fat adult. I ate crappy food and drank sugary sodas the entire time. My diet didn’t change until I was pushing 30 and discovered that eating like I was a teenager was unsustainable for me and my metabolism.

      School didn’t teach me anything about eating healthy (unless you count the food pyramid). Actually, let me take that back. I was told “how” to eat healthy, but never told “why” it matters.

      I don’t think attacking “obesity” like it is some sort of personal choice is going to help anything at all. It isn’t much of a “choice” when you are ignorant of how terrible your choices actually are. Some things just taste good but they are not good for you.

      What needs to happen is schools need to teach kids why and how to make better food choices and help them enjoy physical activity.

  • Jordan

    I totally agree with E.B. Right on. I was chubby in grade school, but am “normal” as an adult. They don’t call it ‘baby fat’ for nothing. Just another example of how “good intentions” turn into a horrible, traumatizing experience for everyone involved. These poor kids. Along with harassing them with their BMI, maybe they should throw in free spray-on tans and get ‘em good and jacked up on some ‘roids. I mean, that’s where they’re headed anyway with this inferiority complex they’re giving these children.

  • Jordan

    I totally agree with E.B. Right on. I was chubby in grade school, but am “normal” as an adult. They don’t call it ‘baby fat’ for nothing. Just another example of how “good intentions” turn into a horrible, traumatizing experience for everyone involved. These poor kids. Along with harassing them with their BMI, maybe they should throw in free spray-on tans and get ‘em good and jacked up on some ‘roids. I mean, that’s where they’re headed anyway with this inferiority complex they’re giving these children.

  • Ironaddict06

    RIght. Determining whether kids are fat or not should be done as accurate as possible. Body fat % should be used as the test. But to do that teachers would have to touch kids stomach, arms, and legs that would make some parents mad that someone touched their child.

  • Word Eater

    I was skinny as hell until I hit my 20′s; now I’m a fat adult. I ate crappy food and drank sugary sodas the entire time. My diet didn’t change until I was pushing 30 and discovered that eating like I was a teenager was unsustainable for me and my metabolism.

    School didn’t teach me anything about eating healthy (unless you count the food pyramid). Actually, let me take that back. I was told “how” to eat healthy, but never told “why” it matters.

    I don’t think attacking “obesity” like it is some sort of personal choice is going to help anything at all. It isn’t much of a “choice” when you are ignorant of how terrible your choices actually are. Some things just taste good but they are not good for you.

    What needs to happen is schools need to teach kids why and how to make better food choices and help them enjoy physical activity.

  • Ironaddict06

    A bit off topic, BUT I can’t belive that the CPS or some gov’t agency has cracked down on parents that smoke with their kids in the car.

  • Ironaddict06

    A bit off topic, BUT I can’t belive that the CPS or some gov’t agency has cracked down on parents that smoke with their kids in the car.

  • Bud Bundy

    The BMI is a shit system. Thats not profanity, thats truth. Its SHIT. Thats the system that says Shaquille O’Neal is morbidly obese. I’m no nutritionist, but I’m fairly certain he’s a 15 time all star. I’m also fairly sure he benches a small car, and squats about an apartment building, and can sprint much faster than a 325 pound man should be able to.

  • Bud Bundy

    The BMI is a shit system. Thats not profanity, thats truth. Its SHIT. Thats the system that says Shaquille O’Neal is morbidly obese. I’m no nutritionist, but I’m fairly certain he’s a 15 time all star. I’m also fairly sure he benches a small car, and squats about an apartment building, and can sprint much faster than a 325 pound man should be able to.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    jeez…leave these kids alone…they are our precious future.

    Let them have their giant 7-11 Gulp and Xbox and Doritos and Ho-Hos…preferably with lots of disruptive hormones that promote huge pads and rolls of fat.

    …because when oil begins to run out…we fit people can harvest blubber after harpooning these whales in the street. Our lamps can remain lit…our vehicles will still roll and our gears can stay lubricated. So show some respect to the people who will one day save us by making the ultimate personal sacrifice.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    jeez…leave these kids alone…they are our precious future.

    Let them have their giant 7-11 Gulp and Xbox and Doritos and Ho-Hos…preferably with lots of disruptive hormones that promote huge pads and rolls of fat.

    …because when oil begins to run out…we fit people can harvest blubber after harpooning these whales in the street. Our lamps can remain lit…our vehicles will still roll and our gears can stay lubricated. So show some respect to the people who will one day save us by making the ultimate personal sacrifice.

  • Anonymous

    And rightfully so. Medical determinations should be done by a doctor, not a teacher or school administrator. There are a lot of causes of obesity and just not being active enough is only one of those causes. Teachers are not qualified to decide what’s healthy for a child and in fact some of the “solutions” I’ve seen put forward by schools can seriously hurt children who have other causes (such as those that are blood sugar or hormone imbalance related). Leave the medicine to the people who spend a decade learning how to practice it.

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