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Childhood obesity: Schools continue to send home "fat letters"

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School children have so many things that bombard them each day, and some school district's decision to have children "weigh in" only makes matters worse for some families.

Although the nation as a whole has been working to lower the levels of childhood obesity, some school districts have taken a proactive approach.

Julie Watson reports that the Chula Vista Elementary School District anonymously measures its students to identify how many are at risk for weight-related health problems.

This approach that measures students according to their BMI has been well received by parents, but other districts are not so subtle in their screenings and send home what some call "fat letters" to notify parents whose children are classified at an unhealthy weight.

Chula Vista is being recognized for its methods that uncovered a 40% percent overweight or obesity rate when nearly 25,000 students were measured in 2010. Its program measures students grades K-6.

Massachusetts has dropped its "BMI Initiative" because the "fat letters" were being sent home with the kids, and state representative Jim Lyons told the Daily News that he "had numerous complaints from parents considering the impact it has on children being ostracized for being too thin or too fat."

Lyons filed the legislation to end the mandate, but schools in 19 states, from Arkansas to Illinois, participate in the annual student weigh-ins.



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