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Fat letters...here we go again!

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Is it the school's place to monitor your child's weight and to let you know if they're reaching the 'unhealthy zone'? Is this any different that the yearly vision and hearing testing? Is the outrage over this overblown?

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/09/04/schools-sending-fat-letters-to-parents-about-overweight-children/

Schools Sending ‘Fat Letters’ To Parents About Overweight Children


STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Many schools are sending noteshome to parents, telling them their children are overweight.

Lauren Schmitt, a registered dietitian, starts the school year by checking out the weight of hundreds of preschoolers in the San Fernando Valley.

“We look at growth charts and percentiles. And when a child is at 95 percent of their…we can look at weight for age or weight for height…that child would be considered obese,” she said.

By October, CBS2’s Suraya Fadel reported that parents will get what is called “healthy or unhealthy” letters. Kids call them “fat letters.”

Schmitt said out of the 900 2 to 5-year-old children she looks at, roughly 200 are listed as obese.

“We let the parents know in a gentle fashion, but we also send out a ton of handouts to try to help that family,” she said.

Experts said 19 states around the country are cracking down on childhood obesity with similar letters.

“Every year there are a few phone calls from parents who are upset,” said Schmitt.

Many districts in Southern California, such as Riverside County, choose to follow state guidelines and instead send test results of the child’s body mass index to their parents.

“It shouldn’t be a stigma. It’s not a way to categorize someone. It’s just showing that this child has increased risk to be obese as an adult, which then could lead to quite a few chronic diseases,” said Schmitt.

The dietitian said the goal is to empower and educate parents with the tools to make healthier lifestyle choices for children.

 Sexy If its unladylike, fattening or fun, I'm in!
  

by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 6:24 PM
Replies (81-89):
SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM
But why is it the schools place to tell parents what they are doing wrong? Are our schools meant to raise children, or just educate them?

For me, as a parent, i just don't think its right for schools to over step their bounds and cross into parenting issues. I take my kids to their doctor, and that is who health issues get discussed with. Schools need to stick to education.


Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

 I think it is great that schools are wanting to help children by helping parents make better choices.  You know what other pamphlets I'd like to see sent home with students?  "Why not to Spank Your Kids" and "The Effects of Too Much TV" and "Skin Cancer Starts Early".  There are about a billion issues vital to the health and wellness of our kids that most parents are clueless on.

HOWEVER, I think the fat letters are a little misguided.  First, they can be used to single kids out.  Send health status letters home with ALL the kids.  "Your child is at a healthy weight, has normal hearing and is a little nearsighted" would be a helpful letter too.  Second, BMI and averages are terrible indicators of health.  Third, junk food is inhaled by all weights in the US.  The nutritional guidelines should be sent home to EVERYONE.  Just because a kid isn't overweight doesn't mean they are getting adequate nutrition.

AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on Sep. 7, 2013 at 12:22 PM

 I understand what you're saying.  I don't think it's overstepping to educate parents about how to better care for their children as long as the information offered is evidence-based.  In my experience doctors don't discuss health issues with parents.  They give the kid a cursory check, ask if mom/dad has any questions with one hand on the door and move on to the next patient.  In studying midwifery I had to learn what to look for during a physical exam.  Not ONCE have I ever had a thorough physical.  Ever.  No one ever checked my skin.  No one ever did what is described in literature as a breast exam.  No one ever checked all my reflexes.  Most doctors don't even look in my eyes and ears.  They ask what's bothering me, they do a pelvic exam and leave.  And my children's doctors haven't been any better.  And if a parent doesn't know to ask, how does this information get disseminated?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

But why is it the schools place to tell parents what they are doing wrong? Are our schools meant to raise children, or just educate them?

For me, as a parent, i just don't think its right for schools to over step their bounds and cross into parenting issues. I take my kids to their doctor, and that is who health issues get discussed with. Schools need to stick to education.


SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Sep. 7, 2013 at 1:05 PM

So, our failing schools that have had numerous budget cuts are better to be offering health info to parents than the thriving private medical field? 

If it's a problem of the medical community missing these cases (which, I don't believe), then put the pressure on the medical community to fix it.   Let the schools focus on thier job of educating kids.  Pushing social agendas out of schools is wrong, IMO, but moreso since our schools are already doing poorly.     

The ONLY situation where I could see a note going home about health issues would be if the child's learning was being affected... say, falling asleep in class, etc...

Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

 I understand what you're saying.  I don't think it's overstepping to educate parents about how to better care for their children as long as the information offered is evidence-based.  In my experience doctors don't discuss health issues with parents.  They give the kid a cursory check, ask if mom/dad has any questions with one hand on the door and move on to the next patient.  In studying midwifery I had to learn what to look for during a physical exam.  Not ONCE have I ever had a thorough physical.  Ever.  No one ever checked my skin.  No one ever did what is described in literature as a breast exam.  No one ever checked all my reflexes.  Most doctors don't even look in my eyes and ears.  They ask what's bothering me, they do a pelvic exam and leave.  And my children's doctors haven't been any better.  And if a parent doesn't know to ask, how does this information get disseminated?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

But why is it the schools place to tell parents what they are doing wrong? Are our schools meant to raise children, or just educate them?

For me, as a parent, i just don't think its right for schools to over step their bounds and cross into parenting issues. I take my kids to their doctor, and that is who health issues get discussed with. Schools need to stick to education.



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yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:38 PM

 

Quoting mamav2215:

i'm not sure anyone said guidance counselors have medical degrees... but not only do they ahve a bachelor degree... they generally have a masters degree in school counseling and dealing with these sorts of issues with kids. 

 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 

Quoting lga1965:

 Why don't you listen to phys.ed. teachers ,school nurses ( who have years of medical training) or guidance counselors who have degrees? ANd what the heck are you talking about?>Oh, yeah, I am supposed to read your mind.

Quoting Caera:

No. My foster kids are usually underfed and malnourished when I get them. But thanks for asking.

I listen to doctors. Not phys. ed. teachers, school nurses, and guidance counselors.

Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting Caera:

I am not interested in schools using my tax dollars and my kids' time with them on this. Their job is to teach my kids reading/writing, math, social studies, science, etc. I will handle their health issues.

I let the school know at the beginning of the year that my kids will not be taking part in any of their screenings. They can use that time to read and work on a book report.

 Ahhhh, another defensive parent who won't listen to anyone,huh? Rebellious and resistant to change and rejecting knowlege?? Grrrrreat. Seems they hit a nerve. Chubby kids? ;)


 

 I didn't realize guidance counselors had medical degrees.

 

 

 

 A guidance counselor regardless of how many degrees they possess still has no business making HEALTH decisions...unless one of them makes them a medical doctor.  A child's health, unless they become sick while at school, is only the business of the parent and the child's doctor.  The school's job is to provide a core education...reading, writing, math, science, history.. 

If you take into consideration that children spend most of their waking hours at school and 2 of the 3 daily meals are served there; the PROBLEM is more likely the school than the parent. 

 

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:47 PM

WAY back in the 80's! lol

I was in private school and they ALSO did this. once a year health screening and they weighed you, checked your eyes, hearing and for lice

no biggie

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM

The school does nothing with it. They don't act as doctor to your child but send home a form letter explaining the BMI and you can choose to follow up with your PED or not

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

But why is it the schools place to tell parents what they are doing wrong? Are our schools meant to raise children, or just educate them?

For me, as a parent, i just don't think its right for schools to over step their bounds and cross into parenting issues. I take my kids to their doctor, and that is who health issues get discussed with. Schools need to stick to education.


Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

 I think it is great that schools are wanting to help children by helping parents make better choices.  You know what other pamphlets I'd like to see sent home with students?  "Why not to Spank Your Kids" and "The Effects of Too Much TV" and "Skin Cancer Starts Early".  There are about a billion issues vital to the health and wellness of our kids that most parents are clueless on.

HOWEVER, I think the fat letters are a little misguided.  First, they can be used to single kids out.  Send health status letters home with ALL the kids.  "Your child is at a healthy weight, has normal hearing and is a little nearsighted" would be a helpful letter too.  Second, BMI and averages are terrible indicators of health.  Third, junk food is inhaled by all weights in the US.  The nutritional guidelines should be sent home to EVERYONE.  Just because a kid isn't overweight doesn't mean they are getting adequate nutrition.


SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Sep. 7, 2013 at 9:38 PM
Why are they weighing a child and checking bmi's, though? How is that any of their business, and don't they have better things to be doing, like... Oh, I don't know, teaching? If they have time to weigh my child and give him a physical, he's clearly in school too long every.day.

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

The school does nothing with it. They don't act as doctor to your child but send home a form letter explaining the BMI and you can choose to follow up with your PED or not

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

But why is it the schools place to tell parents what they are doing wrong? Are our schools meant to raise children, or just educate them?



For me, as a parent, i just don't think its right for schools to over step their bounds and cross into parenting issues. I take my kids to their doctor, and that is who health issues get discussed with. Schools need to stick to education.




Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

 I think it is great that schools are wanting to help children by helping parents make better choices.  You know what other pamphlets I'd like to see sent home with students?  "Why not to Spank Your Kids" and "The Effects of Too Much TV" and "Skin Cancer Starts Early".  There are about a billion issues vital to the health and wellness of our kids that most parents are clueless on.

HOWEVER, I think the fat letters are a little misguided.  First, they can be used to single kids out.  Send health status letters home with ALL the kids.  "Your child is at a healthy weight, has normal hearing and is a little nearsighted" would be a helpful letter too.  Second, BMI and averages are terrible indicators of health.  Third, junk food is inhaled by all weights in the US.  The nutritional guidelines should be sent home to EVERYONE.  Just because a kid isn't overweight doesn't mean they are getting adequate nutrition.


FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Sep. 7, 2013 at 9:53 PM

If my daughter was to get a letter sent home, from school, saying she appears to be in the higher percentile, I would have to agree.  Her doctor has said the same.

It isn't a 'fat letter'.  It is a letter informing the parents of something parents need to be informed about.  Now, hopefully most already are but some times, for a variety of reasons, the kids are not going to a doctor and well, there are other options in order to help your kiddo.  

If a parent is that upset perhaps they need to realize why.

Woodbabe
by Woodie on Sep. 8, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Schools screeen for issues that can negatively effect a child's ability to learn, many kids (especially the poor and those without health insurance) do NOT get regular medical attention. Having their vision and hearing checked at school may be the first time anyone has looked for issues. Same with weight. If a kid is so overweight that they can't participate in school activities then yes, its important to know and to give the parents a chance to seek medical attention and to try to correct it. They also regularly screen for child abuse and lice as needed. How can helping a young child have a sucessful start in the education be a bad thing?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

Why are they weighing a child and checking bmi's, though? How is that any of their business, and don't they have better things to be doing, like... Oh, I don't know, teaching? If they have time to weigh my child and give him a physical, he's clearly in school too long every.day.

 Sexy If its unladylike, fattening or fun, I'm in!
  

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