Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

We have letter grades on school report cards why not BMI rankings?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) June 30th, 2010

Why shouldn’t schools put a kid’s BMI rating on the report card? People want to know just how much their child is learning so why not how fat or healthy their child is? People don’t like to see it almost as if they are scared. They don’t just mark on a report car “passing” or “failing” you get a letter grade so the parents know well or poorly their child is doing. Health and weight wise they should be given the same information so they have the chance to do something about it before “Sparky” tips the scale at 380lb or better at his middle school dance.

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37 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Because a parent can observe themselves how thin or fat their child is, they don’t need a report from the school. That is for their doctor to comment on.

Nullo's avatar

Those who care about a kid’s BMI will be able to make their own evaluations and correct the kid’s diet. Those who don’t care won’t care.

Plus, it gives the school room to be nosier, and then someone will want to be able to do something official with the BMI data – health regulations for the home or somesuch – and WHAM! More personal liberty gone.
I rather like the idea that I can eat for myself.

Seaofclouds's avatar

If the school’s want to start measuring and monitoring BMIs then they need to do more to help with the amount of physical education they are giving children these days. I’ve seen so many PE programs cut back. My son’s school took the kids bowling for 2 hours (2 hours total time at the bowling ally, not 2 hours actually bowling) instead of having Field Day. Until the schools are ready to step up the PE again, they should leave the BMI to the doctors.

augustlan's avatar

Um, I would be thoroughly pissed if my kids’ schools did such a thing.

MacBean's avatar

Also, BMI is bullshit.

MacBean's avatar

Crap, just too late to edit my response.

My school used to make us estimate our body fat percentage in gym class at the beginning and end of every year. They got out the skinfold calipers and measured us right in front of the whole class. As far as I know, it made a couple of skinny girls anorexic and all it did for us fatties was make us feel like shit, not inspire us to lose weight or whatever. So… fail!

Mat74UK's avatar

We already have enough of a nanny state!

gemiwing's avatar

BMI is fine for learning basics about a large group of people- think hundreds of thousands. It’s not much use in determining overall health in one person.

I’d rather have a doctor looking over my child’s health.

Skip the BMI- include real recess/PE and fix the goddamn school lunches.

janbb's avatar

@gemiwing I think I love you; GA.

JLeslie's avatar

I wanted to add that I am in favor of children learning in school at a young age about health, good eating habits, and appropriate average weight (the old height and weight charts and BMI, and percent fat are all ok to me, I think they all should be taught. Nothing is a hard fast perfect rule). I am in favor of as part of a class, could be science, or could be PE.

gailcalled's avatar

We can all do our own BMI tests. Pinch waist on either side with thumb and forefinger. How much of you can you grab?

janbb's avatar

a distressingly lovable amount.

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: Think of it as a holding tank for your life experiences and memories.

janbb's avatar

much better.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie: You mean I wasn’t the first person to think of that? Drat. I’ll have to cancel my patent application.

JLeslie's avatar

I wish I could just pinch an inch. The old fat is now the new thin. I always say I am trying to get back to my old fat weight, which is what I got up to in college. At the time I could not believe I weighed that much. Now I think it would be fantastic if I weighed that little.

gailcalled's avatar

@JLeslie: Oh, I know that feeling. During my youth and mid-years, I felt too heavy at 128 and 5’ 7”. Just a dream now.

PandaMonium's avatar

I think less should be placed on the shoulders of the school system and more back on the parents. It’s their responsibility to raise their kids however they want. And plus that would be cruel to have your BMI on your reportcard where all the other kids can make fun.

JLeslie's avatar

@PandaMonium Except we cannot make parents be educated about things like this. I don’t want it on a report card, but just sitting back and saying certain things should be taught by parents is naive I think. We have a responsibility as a society to educate our population in my opinion.

PandaMonium's avatar

@JLeslie If a child is physically an unhealthy weight, then I don’t see what the parents needs to be taught in a class to see that. It’s common sense. How to help their child nutrition and excercise wise is where they need to seek advice from a doctor not the school.

gailcalled's avatar

It’s pretty easy to see who is overweight and who is not, even with a loose set of norms.

wundayatta's avatar

What does BMI have to do with the main objective of our education system?

JLeslie's avatar

@PandaMonium I agree, I am not talking about educating the parents. It is NOT common sense to many people what healthy is. In communities where a large majority of people are overweight, overweight is normal. Thin people and children get teased. I agree a doctor should be evaluating the child’s health, but 15 minutes with a doctor is not like 5 days of learning about healthy food choices and exercise, real specifics that doctors typically do not provide. Let alone that many poorer people may not see a doctor regularly.

I will never forget being out to dinner with a girlfriend of mine and her grandmother had just been through heart bypass several months before following a heart attack. She ordered chicken fingers, because her doctor told her she had to start eating healthier, eat less red meat.

tinyfaery's avatar

Have you seen teachers and school administrators? It’s a bit hypocritical for a school system to judge the health and weight of a child when the employees of the school system are not held to the same standards. That’s not only rude, it’s not the purpose of K-12 education.

philosopher's avatar

I would tend to agree with you.
However I know a great deal more about, health nutrition and fitness than the teachers I had when I was in Public school. Many of them were not in good shape. They did not follow what they preached.
I am not being conceited. I made it a priority to learn. I have worked out and taken classes since college.
I was taught about exercise by Professionals at the gym.
Many people prefer to remain ignorant about health matters. In Public school teachers did not explain things. They threatened us instead.
I find the best motivator is education.
Young women see models as their role models. They starve themselves. I was one of them. I was saved by exercise and learning about proper nutrition.

delirium's avatar

Not to mention the flaws in BMI…

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@JLeslie ” Because a parent can observe themselves how thin or fat their child is, they don’t need a report from the school.” Novel idea but it isn’t or hasn’t worked. How can you expect a child who parents are obese to know how to check when they have no control over their own weight? Or if they observe their child’s friends being 34 to 50lb overweight they may think their child is OK when in fact he/she can be 12 to 15lb overweight. There are so many fat kids that fat kids look normal, like what kids should look like.

@Seaofclouds ” If the school’s want to start measuring and monitoring BMIs then they need to do more to help with the amount of physical education they are giving children these days. I’ve seen so many PE programs cut back.” Just look to the past politicians you elected who would rather toss billions down the throat of a Middle East sand alligator than spend it in the schools here and there you go.

@augustlan @MacBean Why not get pissed if a letter grade gets put on the card? To have your report card come out showing you are barely passing or not pulling in straight As or close to it is no worse than having a BMI. Back in the day people actually cared about grades because unlike to day they didn’t just “push you through” because they were afraid of embarrassing you if they flunked you and held you back, getting some Ds snapped you out of your funk and made you try harder. Fat kids today don’t put any alacrity to changing because society pretty much has given up and gave them a “eat a tub of ice cream” free card.

@gailcalled *_” We can all do our own BMI tests. Pinch waist on either side with thumb and forefinger. How much of you can you grab? And many will say so long as what they can pinch in the middle is smaller than a Big Mac then they don’t need to do anything, they are healthy enough.

” It’s pretty easy to see who is overweight and who is not, even with a loose set of norms.” You have a class of 25 kids and 19 are overweight the regular sized kids seem under weight. If the norm is to be fat then fat become the norm and hides in plain sight.

@PandaMonium –They put Ds and Fs on the card and other kids can see that. Guess it is OK to be seen as stupid as long as it is not fat and stupid.

MacBean's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central If a student is tested and gets an 85 on their test, they learned 85% of the material. If a student has a BMI of, say, 25… well

JLeslie's avatar

@philosopher You know more, but many don’t. Public school is for the masses. So that week about nutrition you will be bored, and get an A on the test.

@Hypocrisy_Central So true. I Actually contradicted myself on this thread, saying parents can see their kids are overweight, and then I said many people in communities where being overweight is ver common the people many times do not have an accurate sense of normal weight. I still don’t want a bad grade given to a kid that is fat. All I want from the school is a grade given that the child understands what makes him fat.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@MacBean ”If a student is tested and gets an 85 on their test, they learned 85% of the material. If a student has a BMI of, say, 25… well…” Well? A fat kid is a fat kid. Because a kid who is shorter than the other fat kid and looks fatter makes little difference. It is not what it looks like it is what it is, and it is not perfect as testing is not perfect. Some people don’t test well in certain areas. If a kid earned 85% on the test just mean he/she remembered that much of the correct questions; they may have known the subject much better just what they remembered most was not included in the test. If that was the case just put “pass” or “failed” on the test and no grade, then those who barely squeaked by don’t have to feel stupid next to someone who aced it. If the parents want to know how smart the test say their kid is they can then asked the school; that is putting more control in the hands of parents as some seem to want.

philosopher's avatar

I am not against nutrition being taught in school. I just want the teacher to actually know something.
Sadly most Doctors don’t now much either.
Proper nutrition is more difficult than writing a prescription.
When I was a kid everyone pushed low fat. Omega 3 fat is in fact healthy and saturated fat is not. Chemicals in our food also cause weight by slowing the Metabolism. I wish more Doctors understood these things.
I wish people would exercise in any form and cook whole foods.
I have a decent Physican but she does not know anything I do not.
There are people that do because nutrition is their focus. It would be great if they were the teachers.

JLeslie's avatar

@philosopher Just the basics: simple knowledge about calories in foods, how to read a nutrition label, what th elipid numbers mean on your blood test, cholesterol is only found in animal products, a little about diabetes, exercise is good, the difference between protein, carbs, and fat in your body. And as I said above, the different measures of a healthy weight: BMI, height weight chart, fat percent. How to calculate the amount of calories someone needs to consume to maintain a certain weight.

A person does not need to be healthy to now and teach these things. It would be in a text book, anyone could teach and test on it.

PandaMonium's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central The D’s and F’s are there to inform the parents how well their child is doing in class. In elementary school they reflect more on behavior problems than smarts. I once got a bad grade because I didn’t speak up loud enough in 1st grade. Later they just show how much you don’t try. You don’t have to be smart to get an A, just responsible.

philosopher's avatar

It would probably be better than nothing.
I have bad memories of Public school gym teachers and Health Education teachers.
They never motivated me.
In college I was always motivated. I think their attitude played a big role.

JLeslie's avatar

@philosopher “health” when I was young was code word for sex ed, not sure if you are using it the same way? I think th eproblem with the classes you mentioned was it was like a weird two days or a week from the normal procedure of PE or biology class, and the teacher was really a PE teacher also teaching this other subject. It was odd, I agree with that. In elementary it would not be odd, because elem teachers teach everything. In Jr high it should be part of Home Ec maybe? It could be put in the curriculum so it makes sense if someone in the education system bothered to make it a priority and think about it from teh students point of view.

MacBean's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Intelligence isn’t visible. If you want an indication of where a child stands and where they need to improve, numbers help. Fat distribution (which is more likely to cause health issues than the simple existence of fat, so “A fat kid is a fat kid,” especially using BMI as a method of measurement, is, as I said, BULLSHIT) is visible. Very visible. If you want to know how fat your child is, look at them. If you imagine people don’t know they or their child are overweight, chances are good that you’re wrong.

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