by Mary Fischer
Would you consider a female who is 5'5" and 124 pounds to be fat? Yeah, me neither, which is why it's nothing short of outrageous that an 11-year-old was deemed overweight in a letter that was sent home from school for her parents to review.
The county health department came to Lily Grasso's middle school in Naples, Florida and conducted a health screening of the kids. Since Lily's BMI registered at 22, she was put into the "overweight" category -- which of course has her mother, Kristen, absolutely outraged.
Ugh. As if today's tween girls don't feel enough pressure to be thin and have perfect bodies, now schools are contributing to their self-esteem issues by sending home stupid letters like this. Did you see that photo of Lily? She's perfectly normal, athletic, strong, and healthy -- which is what we should hope for our kids to strive to be. She's certainly not the least bit overweight in any sense of the word -- but now she's probably going to wonder if she needs to lose a few pounds since by the health department's standards, she's fat.
And you know what's really disheartening? If Lily was put into the overweight category, then odds are good that plenty of other kids also had notes sent home with them -- which is basically a recipe for disaster as far as a group of middle school girls is concerned. If this were my daughter, I'd be so irate, and as Kristen asked, I'd wonder why a test like this being done at the school instead of at the doctor's office.
I'm all for encouraging our kids to make wise choices as far as diet and exercise goes -- but is it really necessary to do a health screening like this and humiliate them? And even though parents could opt out, it appears as though it was not made clear that their weight was going to be a factor. You can't blame Kristen for not having any qualms about letting Lily participate in the screening.
Why can't schools focus on making sure kids, and girls in particular, have a healthy and realistic body image instead of subjecting them to this kind of scrutiny? If screenings like this keep up, they're basically asking for these kids to have self esteem issues -- and that just isn't right.
How would you react if your child got a letter like this?