Body Mass Index Initiative

The Massachusetts Public Health Council passed a regulation that requires schools to measure the Body Mass Index (BMI) of students in grades 0ne, four, seven, and ten this year.  As a result of this regulation, parents of students in the appropriate grades will receive a letter from the schools regard their child’s Body Mass Index (BMI) in the next few weeks.  This effort was developed with input from school nurses and is aimed at helping to improve student health.  The state’s assumption is that BMI can be easily calculated using existing data – namely height and weight – that schools already have.  The increase in BMI screening has been coupled with a lowering of the requirements associated with hearing and scoliosis screening (taken from the Superintendent’s Memo January 22, 2009).

Please contact your school’s nurse if you have any questions about the screening process itself or the results.  The state also asks us to forward resources to parents.  The following links include a resource-filled website and a background information power point.

Mass in Motion – http://www.mass.gov/massinmotion/

Background Power Point – CTSobesity

3 thoughts on “Body Mass Index Initiative

  1. Angela Fabrizio-Nota

    Personally, I do not feel that it’s the school place to step into these shoes. If they want to improve the overall health of these kids, they should take another look at the new “healthier” school lunches and leave this area to the medical professionals and parents. My daughter has no fat on her and we got a letter stating she was “overweight.” In this society, this is probably one of the most damaging things that can be done to a child, most especially a little girl.

    Reply
    1. Kristen Fiato

      I could not agree with more with posting #2 above. I, too, have been informed that my perfectly-healthy children are obese and overweight. Neither I nor my pediatrician feel that my children are unhealthy or overweight. The BMI formula used to calculate these numbers is extremely inaccurate and unreliable — makes me wonder why tax dollars are spent on this program that will only create an unhealthy stigma of weight awareness, particularly among young girls. I obviously did not share these absurd results with my children, particularly my daughter. If I or my pediatrician ever feel that the weight or BMI of either of my children are ever an issue, it’s an issue to be addressed with my pediatrician, not the public school system.

      Reply

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