Students Receiving "Fat Letters" from School - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Students Receiving "Fat Letters" from School

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More and more school districts are sending home so-called "fat letters" that alert parents that their children are in the BMI danger zone.

Virginia isn't one of 19 states actively collecting body mass index information for students.

But ABC's chief health and medical editor, Doctor Richard Besser, tells us he wouldn't be surprised if similar programs start up here and in other areas very soon.

One in three kids in Virginia is now overweight or obese and it's reached epidemic proportions.

However, eating disorder experts worry the screenings do more harm than good.

"I would like to see BMI testing in schools banned," says expert Claire Mysko. "For those who are already insecure about their weight, these tests can potentially trigger an eating disorder."

Doctor Besser says the key to making these letters helpful instead of hurtful is to send them to all students.

He recommends school districts educate everyone about how good eating and staying active can keep BMIs in check instead of targeting a handful of kids who may have a weight problem.

"We screen for vision and hearing and immunizations. This is another thing that's important for children's health," he says.


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