Saturday, March 2, 2013

What Will Happen Where You Live?

So someone has the idea that schools should send home "Your child is FAT" letters.

What if the "Your Child is FAT" letters varied in content depending on where you live?

(My apologies in advance to anyone who lives in these areas. I have taken to giving a stereotypical personality to each in the name of entertainment and I do not mean  any personal attacks on any individual or family). 

Beverly Hill. CA 90210
Dear Parent:
It has come to our attention that your child's BMI falls at 10% below normal and therefore, for our geographic area, he/she is FAT. Of course, we do not blame you for this problem as most of the children in our entertainment world school zone were conceived through egg donations and carried in utero by Slurpee guzzling  chocolate chomping, under compensated  surrogates. However, due to our high standards of what is acceptable to the camera eye, we cannot subject our teachers and other students to the constant sight of your child's excessive ounces. We have it on good authority that your child even eats carbs! Please immediately hire a personal trainer and set your child up with shots from Dr Look Good so that little Tubby can be retained in our school and not transferred to the Pasadena academy. 

Moosecrick, Arkansas
To Little Bubba's Parents:
Y'all missed a great cake walk and barbecue last Friday. We sure hope to see you and little Bubba at our Fish fry and cookie grab this week. Speaking of little Bubba, we need to let you know that he is doing just fine in reading and writing. However, we're worried about his girth. Is he is off his feed? Arkansas may be at the bottom of the national average for schooling, but we is one of the top three states in this fine country in obesity! We cannot keep that high ranking if our current students do not reach a healthy level of fat in time for the next reckoning of statistics by the government. If you need any help getting enough fat into Bubba's diet please remember that Paula Deen recipes are available for free in the school library. Also, please remember our state motto: If God has wanted vegetables to be fat free he wouldn't have invented pork fat!" 

Washington, DC
Attention Parents! 
Once again we are writing to point out that according to our records, two of your children are above the federally recognized normal BMI for your children's age and height. As we are the only school system in the country with a budget controlled by Congress (and not by our own district representatives), we must warn you that if these children do not get their weight down to an acceptable level, they will be drafted into the Marines. A stint in boot camp will bring these children to the fit shape we all know they should be. If you need any help in determining what YOU can do to help your children reach a healthier weight we direct you to the federally funded . . .(oh wait, that program was lost in the sequester). Sorry, folks!!

In all seriousness: When I was in 4th grade my school talked to my parents about my weight. The school nurse called my mother in and the next thing I knew I was on a diet - and it seemed (to me) that everyone in the school knew about it. My parents were good but simple people who did what they could and didn't know any better. They accepted the offered 'help.'  I was mortified to be singled out yet I was hopeful I would lose weight and could be accepted as normal. As much as I hoped it would do some good, it didn't. The plan was only as good as the person who implemented it and she (the nurse) was a rage-a-holic, anorexic, downright mean woman who stopped 'helping' me after two weeks. The damage was done. I felt worse about myself. I continued to use food to cope with life. 

Has anyone found lasting change in their weight as the result of being admonished? 


1 comment:

Norma said...

Schools screen kids for hearing, vision, scoliosis, learning disabilities, fine motor skiklls, speech issues, etc., which can affect their life both in and out of school and may not be noticed by the parents or guardians at home; i.e., I had no idea, nor did my parents, that I needed glasses, until my eye test with the school nurse in 5th grade indicated so. I had no idea, nor did my daughter, that SHE needed glasses, until her vision test in preschool indicated so.

Parents are an (over)protective lot and sometimes will ignore/gloss over what might be an issue with their precious offspring. Not talking at age 2? Still waters run deep. Not potty trained at 4? He's not ready yet. Weighs 90 lbs in second grade? He's a good eater and we're all big-boned on both sides of the family.

An overweight child may simply be overfed, or it could indicate a legitimate physical disorder (rare, but possible). An overweight child may have overweight parents who think unlimited amounts of Frosted Flakes are GRRRREAT! for him to eat for breakfast, because it says healthy whole grains on the box, plus he's getting all that milk for strong bones! -- So, a letter may prompt parent/s to see their child's pediatrician...the pedi may do some tests to determine if a real medical condition exists. If there isn't one, the pedi can take that opportunity to lead the conversation on nutrition and activity. My kids' pediatric office runs a six-week program every quarter where entire families can attend (on the advice of their kids' MD) and learn about foods, portion sizes, metabolism, how your body uses different foods, etc. together.

Every parent wants to know if their kid can't see the board/can't hear the teacher talking/has trouble with comprehension/isn't demonstrating appropriate age level skills for things like holding the pencil, etc. No parent (especially a fat one) wants to admit their kid is fat. To me, the "fat letter" is no different than the "your kid failed the eye test" or the "your kid can't tie his shoes in 3rd grade" or a report card.