Today in my wellness class I learned that several states have mandated that schools send home BMI report cards. These report cards would let parents know the BMI of their child which tells them if they were underweight, a "normal" weight, overweight, or obese. Since I myself was overweight as a child I am nothing shy of disgusted with this new practice. Children starting as early as kindergarten are having their height and weight measured so that their BMI can be calculated and sent home. As if kids aren't cruel enough already when it comes to physical appearance why not let them know their classmates weight?
Several studies have shown that BMI is not an accurate measure of obesity among adolescents and even for adults. The test does not take into account genetics, bone density, age, and other factors that greatly effect one's health. Instead, when trying to asses one's overall wellness they should look at family history, nutrition, a doctor's examination, in conjunction with BMI. BMI, like weight, is just a number. I wonder if parents who receive these report cards even know what BMI is or what to do with the information that their child is healthy or unhealthy.
Until the age of 20 I struggled with my appearance, I waged wars on my body and didn't think I was good enough unless I looked and dressed like the girls I saw in the magazines and on TV. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of psychological damage that these report cards will have on young kids, especially young girls. At an age when both males and females are experiencing changes to their bodies, they do not need another concern added to their daily stresses. I understand that child obesity is a real problem in the US, however I believe there are other ways to "solve" the problem. Parents and schools should teach their kids the importance of a balanced diet and daily exercise. Michelle Obama recently announced her initiative to eliminate childhood obesity called Let's Move. While the plan focuses on eating right and appears to be big on dieting, I think it is a step in the right direction. For more information check out her plan.
I encourage parents and kids alike to look at their diets and exercise regiments and think about if they are really healthy. Because someone is thin does not mean they are healthy and because someone is fat does not mean they are unhealthy. Take a moment to assess your own wellness and see if you can make any positive behavior modifications to be a healthier you.
As with every Monday, stay lazy, but schedule in a run or a trip the gym. Treat yourself well.