Childhood obesity is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed, but what happens when city agencies start labeling healthy kids overweight? What about their fragile minds?
The New York Post reports that 9-year-old Gwendolyn Williams of Staten Island learned she was essentially obese thanks to a New York City Department of Education "Fitnessgram" that identifies Body Mass Index. "I was like, ‘Oh, my God! Why did I get this?" the third-grader told the Post. "I’m 4-foot-1, and 66 pounds, and I’m like, what?!"
The handouts are being sent home to the city's 870,000 public school students, telling them not to look at the results, which are based on information recorded last November. Parents are understandably unhappy about the new initiative. Gwendolyn's mother, Laura Bruij Williams, called her daughter's reaction to the handout "heartbreaking," and reached out to PS 29's principal.
"She was sympathetic, but said the kids weren’t supposed to open it," Williams told the Post. "My response is, they’re kids. How can you believe they’re not going to open it?"
The plan's scope might be well-meaning, and the CDC notes that BMI is "not a diagnostic tool," but why are we body-shaming children again? Fortunately, Gwendolyn brushes it all off: "I know that I’m not overweight, so why should I believe the New York Department of Education?" Case closed.
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