The White House has declared September to be “Childhood Obesity Awareness Month,” part of a movement to reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity in the nation and in line with First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign.
However, what remains to be determined: Should children be put on formal diets? And what should be done? In an attempt to take control of the epidemic, many California schools are sending "fat letters" to the parents of overweight children, reported the Business Standard on September 9.
The targeted children include preschoolers in the San Fernando valley, where registered dietitian Lauren Schmitt is required to contact the families of overweight children.
"We look at growth charts and percentiles," she explained. If a child tops the limit, "that child would be considered obese," Schmitt told KNX News. At this point, she has evaluated 900 children between age two and age five and estimates that 200 qualified as obese. The result: Their parents received the "fat letter" notifications.
"We let the parents know in a gentle fashion, but we also send out a ton of handouts to try to help that family," Schmitt said.
Also sending these letters: Schools in 19 other states, all in an attempt to target the one in three children – ages 2 to 19 – in the U.S. who is overweight or obese, which translates to approximately 23 million kids, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). But are "fat letters" the answer? The American Academy of Pediatrics says "yes." They're championing schools who are taking this action and claim that it's helpful (read about it by clicking here). What do you think? Post your comments below.