Published July 17, 2010
Massachusetts parents are angry and dismayed over a public school policy that sees students getting sent home with “fat letters,” myFOXboston.com reported late Friday.
Many schools across the state began sending Body Mass Index (BMI) reports and letters home with students in order to flag possible obesity issues to parents.
"To have a piece of paper like this come home in their backpack with them is very, very concerning to me," said mother Lori-Ann Sumner, whose nine-year-old daughter Shelby -- an active gymnast and athlete -- was characterized as “borderline overweight.”
"Her BMI was 19.43, which brought her to 84.38 percent, and 85th percentile is considered overweight,” said social worker Sumner, who is worried that children and parents will take the information in the wrong way.
"It could be a good tool if you know how to utilize it, but they are going home blindly to parents [to whom] it is just numbers and they don't know how to interpret it," Sumner said.
Shelby, who is 90 pounds and just over four-foot-nine, did not take the letter to heart but fears some of her more sensitive or insecure peers might.
"I just kind of chuckled and threw it back in my backpack," said Shelby. "It was like, whatever. I think I would be considered big for my grade and age but definitely not overweight."
Memorial Elementary School in Medway, Mass., is required by law to calculate each student's BMI to determine healthy proportions.