Schools issue “weight grades” to get kids to slim down

thumbnailby Cree McCree
WHAT’S HAPPENING

  • School report cards are adding three new letters: BMI. To help fight childhood obesity, a growing number of states have started issuing student “weight grades” that track body mass index scores (HuffingtonPost.com, 19 April 2011).
  • Arkansas schools mail annual weight reports to families, along with lifestyle tips for slimming down. Massachusetts is phasing in a similar program that will have evaluated more than 286,000 kids by the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
  • Officials hope that the grades help families see the light. In a 2010 Trust for America’s Health survey, 84% of parents deemed their children’s weight “healthy,” though nearly a third of those students were overweight or obese.


WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS

  • Salad bars at school cafeterias. Happy Meals without toys. Healthy teas in school vending machines. The anti-obesity arsenal keeps growing, but the problem persists. “Weight grades” that hit close to home with cold, hard numbers could inspire more parents to become part of the solution (or just get them fuming about inappropriate meddling).
  • Everything in moderation. Parents who police their kids’ food too zealously may set them up for eating disorders, experts warn.


RESOURCES


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