I saw this story on GMA this morning and it got me thinking...the BMI system. Now telling children everywhere how fat they are. There are pros and cons to this system of sending home "Fat Letters".
Let's start with the pros shall we?
In my humble opinion we are becoming a society that is afraid to bring up the fact that everyone is getting fat...and even more people are reaching the point of being obese. To spare everyone's feelings we are leaving it alone. In honor of "loving bodies everywhere" we are leaving it alone. But is that really the smartest approach? We all know most medical problems would decrease, if not disappear altogether, if people lost weight. Those extra pounds do damage to your body. The fact that so many children are now overweight or obese is scary! Those kids have no chance to live a full and happy life if by the age of 7 they can't run around the playground. (I won't get started on the fact that I blame the PARENTS if a child is obese..that can be a post for another day.) I think it's great for schools to take the initiative and talk about being healthy. I am all for spreading awareness about your child's health.
Now let's jump into the cons.
First, I hate the BMI. My health teacher husband hates the BMI. I hate it so much that I don't mind telling you my BMI is 24.8...just 0.2 points away from being Overweight which means 6 months and 25 pounds ago I was BMI-Overweight. Awesome. That does wonders to a girl's self esteem doesn't it??That's my biggest problem..the BMI isn't the most accurate form of determining health. Even doctors will admit that. The problem is there is no other formula that does what the BMI tries to do, so we're stuck with it.
The next thing that concerns me about the idea of a "Fat Letter" being sent home is the chance it opens up for young girls to be even more insecure about their bodies. I remember growing up and being called "big boned" because all my friends were teeny tiny. Even as we all grew up and became young women, I saw myself as so much bigger than all my friends...but looking back at pictures I realize I was the same size as they were. Being told I was bigger when I was 7 stayed in my mind until well after I was 17.
Unless it's for the chubby kids who don't go play in recess, I don't see the point in sending home a Fat Letter. Athletic girls aren't fat. Tall girls aren't fat...no matter what the BMI tries to tell them.