When my son was in elementary school, I got a fat letter, albeit a carefully worded one. It told me that my son was in the 98th percentile of his class in weight for his height. ANd his BMI was well over what it should be. The letter fell short of actually saying he was a big fatso, but I got the message. And I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Of course, I knew my son was chubby. He’d been so skinny as a little kid, but once he hit prepuberty, he ballooned.
It wasn’t his diet, I knew that, because he didn’t eat processed sugar or foods. He wasn’t that short, but I also knew that he hadn’t stretched out, either. He wasn’t an athlete, but he wasn’t a couch potato, either. He played baseball and soccer, rode a bike, hiked in the White Mountains, and even ran.
When he asked me what the letter from his school said, I lied and told him nothing. Why?
I didn’t want him to know that went this was the result of the recent weighing, measuring and eye test he had at his elementary school–a letter reducing him to numbers that would make him feel more self conscious that he already did. And would most likely humiliate him. He’s 21 now and 185 lbs. at 6′ 1″. The weight fell off him as he flew through puberty and grew into manhood. The baby fat by and large went away.
But now, 10 years later, these kinds of letters still go out to parents. But across the country, I’m happy to tell you state legislatures are starting to ban the collection of such data on students. According to National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA),