School sends controversial ‘body report cards’ home with overweight children

A school in New York has started sending home ‘body report cards’ to try and tackle the growing childhood obesity problem.

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by Fiona Day |
Published on

Dr Dayle Hayes spoke out against the report cards, telling The Huffington Post: ‘The so-called 'fat letters' are unwarranted, unproven and potentially harmful. We can- and should- utilize more comprehensive strategies for promoting smart nutrition and fun physical activity for students of all sizes, shapes and weights in our schools.’

Concerns have also been raised that the report cards will lead to children focusing too much attention being focused on weight, causing a negative impact on body image.

Dr Hayes added that recent studies have shown that ‘weight stigma and weight-related bullying are significant problems starting as young as preschool.’

Doctors are concerned that the body report cards will affect children's body image
Doctors are concerned that the body report cards will affect children's body image

She added: ‘They need us to focus less on 'fat letters' and put more resources toward school gardens, cooking classes and before/after-school walking programs for all students.’

The controversy intensified when it emerged a healthy 9-year-old girl had been classed as ‘overweight’ in a so-called ‘body report card.’

Her mother told the New York Post: ‘She said, ‘Hey, Mum. The school told me I’m overweight.’ And then she started jiggling her thighs, and saying, ‘Is this what they mean?’ That was heart breaking. It’s a very positive thing for some kids who are overweight, but we shouldn’t be putting these assessments in the children’s hands.’

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