I had not followed this issue too closely, but 19 or 20 states have passed bi-partisan legislation that requires schools to test all students for BMI (Body Mass Index), and send home what are called "Fat Letters" to the parents of kids — even kindergardeners — who's BMI exceeds very narrow standards.
I'm posting here because it isn't so much political as it is moral, and if you're interested in helping to elevate the visibility of this issue, check out this KickStarter page.
I'm all for reducing childhood obesity, but not by shaming kids and their parents, and I'm gonna make a small contribution.
Yeah ya see, that's the problem with America. We're offended (and will probably sue) because someone had the f#ckˇng nerve to let us know via the written word that our kid — whom we pretty much allow a TV & computer raise — is a fat, unhealthy little sh!t, and perhaps we should do something about it. Cry me a river for the 2 out of 10,000 kids that have a legit health issue that makes them heavier than most kids their age. [ /end rant ]
Now before you flick a spoon full of lard at me, know that I'm pissed that the government would waste my tax money even thinking about this topic, let alone passing laws that would perform a medical-related test on my kid without my permission. It's none of their f#ckˇng business. And I'm kind of annoyed that more tax money is being wasted printing and mailing a letter which is not only rude, but does little more than point out what anyone who isn't legally blind can see for themselves — which is that my kid is overweight.
We all know there's little-to-nothing we can do about government waste (and stupidity). That has been proven over and over again. And as the parent of what most people consider a "special needs" kid, I can sympathize with those who want to get behind any group or action that protects and/or helps kids. But at the same time, in this case, I would find it easier to throw the letter in the trash where it belongs, and move on.
While we may find the whole thing offensive, it's not an invasion of privacy. You're sending your kid to a public school (supported by our taxes). As dumb and pointless as the letter appears to be, you would have to be blind to not see that the intention isn't to "fat shame" kids & parents, but to provide motivation to get our kids on a healthy road. Obviously they chose a typical government method to accomplish something - with a non-solution that has no chance of success - but is relatively inexpensive. They're idiots, and we can't/shouldn't hold that against them.
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And that's my point. The testing, IMHO should be voluntary and done only with parental consent. The only mandatory should be that the schools explain the program and it's purpose to parents and seek their consent to test their kids — or allow the option to have the test done by a pediatrician if possible. And that brings up the argument for universal single-payer healthcare. If good healthcare were accessible to everyone, problems like obesity — and all the troubles that come with it — might be less pervasive than it is.
Oh, I don't know. When I was in school we had the President's Fitness Program, which always always embarrassed me. And then there were the eyesight exams, which I always failed. And the hearing tests, which I passed (no longer!). The gov'mint has always been intrusive in this way. I have no clue how the BMI is going to be implemented, but if true obesity is truly a disease, then why is it any different from having laws that require that students in public schools be vaccinated?
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It's the stigma factor, primarily. If superficial appearance weren't so damned commercialized and plastered all over our culture, obesity might be viewed as what it is — a medical condition — rather than a cosmetic defect that one should be ashamed of.
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