Schools sending kids home with "fat" notes (NYT Article)

  1. I realize obesity in children is a legitimate health concern, but this is really disturbing to me. Especially since PE programs are being cut from school schedules left and right. (I had to take PE all four years of High School, my girls were only required to take ONE year of PE). I might also add (as the article also points out) that school lunches are nutritionally HORRIBLE.

    They might as well send home photos of Kate Moss, Nicole Ritchie and the Olsen Twins with these poor kids.... :cursing:

    NY Times Article

    Here, in the rural Southern Tioga School District, the schools distribute the state-mandated reports even as they continue to serve funnel cakes and pizza for breakfast. Some students have physical education for only half the school year, even though 34 percent of kindergartners were overweight or at risk for it, according to 2003-4 reports.

    Even health authorities who support distributing students’ scores worry about these inconsistent messages, saying they could result in eating disorders and social stigma, misinterpretation of numbers that experts say are confusing, and a sense of helplessness about high scores.

    “It would be the height of irony if we successfully identified overweight kids through B.M.I. screening and notification while continuing to feed them atrocious quality meals and snacks, with limited if any opportunities for phys ed in school,” said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital Boston.

    The farmers and foundry workers here in north-central Pennsylvania have different ideas about weight than those of the medical authorities who set the standards (the percentiles are based on pre-1980 measurements because the current population of children is too heavy to use as a reference). Here, the local pizza chain is called Pudgie’s. Nearby Mansfield’s fanciest restaurant serves its grilled chicken salad piled with fries.

    Nearly 60 percent of eighth graders in the district scored in the 85th percentile or higher in 2003-4; more than a quarter had scores in the 95th percentile or higher, meaning they were officially overweight.

    As it is for adults, the body mass index for children is a ratio of height to weight, but the juvenile numbers are also classified by age and sex, and the word “obese” is not used.

    Holly Berguson, the homecoming queen at North Penn Junior-Senior High School here, wears a size 20, a fact cited by her many admirers as proof of this community’s generous attitude toward weight, its proud indifference to the “Baywatch” bodies on television.

    “I don’t care how big I am,” said Holly, 17, who is insulin resistant, a condition that often precedes Type 2 diabetes. “It’s not what you look like, it’s who you are.”
  2. Okay, first of all, they need to get rid of the crap they're serving the children every day for lunch. (Or introduce more salads).

    Second of all, if it's so important for the parents to know about the child's BMI, why don't they just send the letters to the child's parents? How emotionally damaging is it to give the letter to the student?
  3. It just makes no sense as they are contributing to this. They have no right and yet they are feigning concern while cutting back on P.E. and loading them up on junk food. So they need to write a note to themselves. :smile:
  4. Yeah, and bring back P.E. (and maybe have it so it's full of activities kids will enjoy so that kids will actually like to exercise.)

    And maybe, instead of cutting out P.E. due to budgetary concerns, maybe stop spending so much money on junk food.
  5. PE was cut in our area because parents demanded more academic programs. There was simply not enough time in the day. My husband and I were very concerned about this trend when it started with our youngest daughter- just because of the dawning of the internet age, kids are just not outside as much anymore anyway and we saw that writing on the wall then. (Look at myspace as a great example of the time kids spend online vs outside being active)
  6. I think parents want the best for their children, but this is the wrong way to go about it. I hated gym class when I was younger, but looking back on it, I'm glad I had it. and
  7. This is why my kids will be in atleast one sport per season. Keep them active a few hours after school and then they can play online or video games or tv. As long as they get their hour or 2 of physical activity (I myself included.) per day (and homework is done!)then I see no problem with them going online and watching t.v.
  8. I find the whole situation disconcerting. I find we're all looking for someone to point the finger at; the school's fault for cutting the 45 min PE and allowing children to buy junkfood, McDonald's for not blatently throwing their nutritional value, now the proposing a FAT TAX on soda...

    When I was a child, most of my activity was not during PE but after school. After we'd do our homework, my sister and I played OUTSIDE not in front of the TV or on the computer. Also, my parents taught me healthy eating habits and to eat things in moderation. So when faced with choices like pizza, cookies, and junkfood I knew enough to eat in moderation.

    While I do not condone the eating habits (or lack thereof) of celebrities like Nicole Richie and the Olsen Twins, I find "“I don’t care how big I am,” said Holly, 17, who is insulin resistant, a condition that often precedes Type 2 diabetes." attitude and general indifference to health just as alarming.
  9. I think its also the parents' responsibility to keep their children healthy. if they limit the junk food at home, and maybe pack their children's lunches, that would help alot. When I lived at home and ate home cooking, I was teeny that fell apart a bit when left to my own devices in college. Public schools are so poorly funded nowadays they probably can't afford to serve better food. I know that PE is very important, but I hated it so much that it doesnt really bother me that its cut now. A lot of it may be that they would make us go outside and run while it was near 100 degrees in the middle of the day.
  10. I currently teach grade 1 and have been teaching for the past 4 years. While I don't agree with the messages being sent to the students in the is not just the schools responsibility to ensure children are physically active. I would love to provide more PE time for my kids however an increased curriculum and budget cuts mean I am not able to. We talk a lot about nutrition and healthy bodies in my class but the majority of my students bring donuts, chips, lunchables or huge bottles of pop and sports drinks to school as snacks. When I ask the majority of my students what they do after school or on the weekends...most say they play on the computer or play video games...rarely do I get a child telling me about going to the park or playing outdoors. Healthy eating habits and an emphasis on physical activity need to be supported at home as well. Just my 2 cents.

    faye :smile:
  11. I was outside playing a lot after school too when I was a kid and that was because most of our schoolwork was done IN school. We had very little homework.

    Nowadays kids have tons of homework. My girls had at least two hours a day from grade 5 on. That does not leave a lot of time for exercise.

    I also agree with the other poster about eating habits. When I was growing up, we rarely, if ever, ate out. And fast food was a rarity too... we did not even have a McDonalds in the town I grew up in until I was about 14. Now there are five of them in the same town, in addition to other fast food places.

    Also, most of the women were stay at home moms back then and had more time to plan and budget for nutritious meals. These days many women work and are tired and fast food is just easier.
  12. Just as an example (and for sh*ts and giggles), here is a photo of the gang of kids I grew up with in our neighborhood in California the 70s. Notice how not ONE of them is fat? (I won't tell which one is me :p )

  13. yeaaa I never had much homework when I was a kid and I played outside a LOT. Now I see these kids come home with so much HW and they're like 8, 9, 10. It's crazy.
  14. While I don't have any kids I am appalled by the way my BFF feeds her child-- and he is skinny!!! I am shocked to hear about donuts and poptarts for breakfast, pizza and Cheetohs for lunch, and hotdogs for dinner.

    Doesn't the nutritional value of food help a child develop mentally and physically, including things like allergies, etc???

    For me, it's not so much about how much you weigh but how healthful and nourishing the diet content.
  15. Geez. They're just fueling the fire by giving the kids food like that. And sending letters home with the kid? That's awful, it can't be good for their self esteem.