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March 14, 2013

The Big Fat Picture

by Tracy Jensen

BMI, or body mass index, is the standard by which kids and adults are deemed either a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. Kids can be screened by doctors, by parents, and in the state of Massachusetts, by the school district. One 10-year-old and his family received a letter from the school district suggesting, based on his BMI, that the boy was obese. However, this kid is also the state wrestling champ and pretty fit if you take a look at the video of this kid doing crunches.

BMI screenings are certainly important, but do they tell the whole story? Is he or she getting enough exercise? Eating healthy foods? Avoiding becoming sedentary? All these things contribute to the big picture. The BMI can be a good place to start. But for a more holistic picture, especially, if you are concerned about the possibility of your child being overweight, your doctor should be involved.

It’s true, we do have a real national problem with obesity. But the problem is more than skin deep. We should look beyond things like BMI and the child’s appearance, and try to understand if the child is truly at risk for the diseases and other health risks associated with being overweight.

What would you do if your kid got a “fat letter” from school?

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