342. In The News: Is BMI Ever TMI?

http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/12/is-bmi-ever-tmi/

I came across this article (That one, above, click the link and read.  I’ll wait.) today which I found really interesting.  There’s a new law in Georgia intended to combat childhood obesity.  Students will be weighed in PE classes, and their BMI information will be sent home to their parents.  The information is also being reported to the state.  There’s definitely an element of privacy/ personal rights and responsibility here, but that’s not something I really see as a huge issue.  In the age of Facebook, Twitter, and the airing of your personal business all over the internet, I often struggle to buy into the invasion of privacy argument.  I’m not saying that isn’t a concern for some: just that it’s not a concern for me.  My concern is whether or not this is an effective method or a wasted effort.

I tend to agree with one of the individual, Randy Weiner, who was quoted in the article.  I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad law, particularly because the information is being provided to parents not the children themselves.  I think the intention is good, but ultimately I don’t think it will be highly effective.  If the parent’s don’t value good health and nutrition then giving them information about their child’s BMI probably isn’t going to change much.

While I think much of the responsibility for childhood obesity falls to the parent’s, I do think schools can impact change.  Personally, I think the more effective way for schools to combat childhood obesity is through education, better nutrition in school lunches, and increase activity for students.  Those are the kind of laws I would like to see passed because those are the kind of laws I think would have the biggest impact overall.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s any sort of “quick-fix” or immediate way to reduce childhood obesity.  Obesity in general is deeply ingrained in our current culture, and I think it order to really impact change, we need to be focusing on more long-term efforts like educating our children so they can, hopefully, grow into healthy(ier) adults and raise children who are healthier than they were.

What do you think?  Do you think this is a good law?  Do you think it’s an effective way to impact change in the current childhood obesity rates?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

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0 thoughts on “342. In The News: Is BMI Ever TMI?”

  1. I have a serious problem that the children are not being involved in this and they are not allowed to know what their weight/BMI is and how they can change it.

    Also, I didn’t read the article 100% – but BMI is only a viable measurement of anthropometrics for people over the age of 18. All children’s BMIs should be plotted on a growth chart and take into consideration height and other factors. So if they are just getting the child’s weight, this is a lost cause.

    However, back to my main concern. While it is a parent’s responsibility to provide and teach their children about nutrition, at some point it will become the child’s sole responsibility to take care of themselves. So say at age 18, this child is suddenly expected to manage their own diet, weight and activity and they have been under this program, how will they know what to do? There needs to be some responsibility assigned to the child, increasing as they age, on their own health. These children need to be involved, need to be taught and need to come to realize how their diet and activity affect their weight and disease status.

    So yes, while there is likely an absence of concern by the parents that will cause this initiative to be looked over, there is a big opportunity for the children and I feel they are being completely overlooked by this law.

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