This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys", Jan. 22, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: There’s a new front in the war on obesity (search) as we go beyond the Beltway.
A Texas lawmaker introduced a bill that would require school districts to put the body mass index, that’s the BMI (search), of overweight school kids on their report cards. Childhood obesity is a problem nationwide, and in Texas, supposedly more than a third of school-aged kids are overweight or obese.
Other states have similar programs in place to try to keep an eye on kids’ weight. What in the world are the schools getting into this for, Mort?
MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: You know, you think I’m a health Nazi, but…
BARNES: Yes, I do.
KONDRACKE: Yes, OK. Well, the, the fact of the matter is that this guy has a great idea, and it ought, and it ought to go nationwide. You’ve heard of physical education?
BARNES: I have.
KONDRACKE: This is health education.
KONDRACKE: The kids are not going to get flunked or, you know, held back because they’re, because they’re fat. They’re, this is an advisory to parents. And I think that the government should do whatever it can to help people control their weight. We live in a in an obese society, a third of all adults are not just overweight (search) but obese. Obesity has doubled among little children. Oh, look, just look around, look at the wide behinds everywhere.
BARNES: Mort, at schools, how about academic education? Did you happen to see that report recently about how far behind the rest of the world is of American school kids are on math and science?
KONDRACKE: I did.
KONDRACKE: It’s appalling, it’s appalling.
BARNES: OK. You know the fact that, that young people don’t read books any more. I don’t think they know when the War of 1812 (search) occurred.And now you want the schools to go into something else that they’re not qualified to do, that’s none of their business, it’s a job for the parents. Look, this BMI index on the report card, you know what that’s designed to do?
BARNES: Shame kids.
KONDRACKE: It is not, it is not.
BARNES: Make them embarrassed, hurt their feelings. And, and it will do that. Tell the schools, if I were a Texas parent, I’d say to the schools, “Butt out,” and if they didn’t, I’d send my kid to a private school immediately.
KONDRACKE: Oh, that is ridiculous.
BARNES: Look, let them teach reading and writing and arithmetic. They’re, they’re failing at that. Now you want them to take on another problem.
It’s terrible, just terrible.
KONDRACKE: One last point about this. The guidelines, you may agree with this, the guidelines that the federal government institute put out. I think are unrealistic.
KONDRACKE: Sixty minutes a day for, of exercise?
KONDRACKE: Nobody’s going to do that.
KONDRACKE: And people are just going to, you know, lie back, turn on the TV and have a Big Mac.
BARNES: I agree with that.
BARNES: That’s bad. That’s excessive. OK..
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