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!