BMI Reporting From Schools Cited as Ineffective
While legislation in many states have considered it helpful that reporting student BMI (body mass index) to parents is a way to nix childhood obesity, health studies vouch it is not deemed helpful as a preventative measure in hampering obesity in kids.
This has been a trend over the last decade in many states, with the hopes of intervention a way for parents to take corrective measures.
The University of California, Davis is the one that has suggested that these types of reports may not aid improvement in student BMI.
The study was featured in the Journal of Adolescent health.
Arkansas was the first state to put it into effect, with eight other states following suit through its Act 1220, mandating that all children in public schools in the state would be evaluated on the school premises for BMI. However, it is found that students who were flagged with higher BMI in lower grades, did not show positive changes in the higher grades, especially in the 11th and 12th grades, versus their peers who did not receive a flag for potential issues with obesity due to their BMI measurements.
It was then-Governor Mike Huckabee who gave his blessing to the bill, after experiencing a weight loss of close to 100 pounds.
This anomaly was caught after parents were permitted to opt-out from these types of screenings, which had become burdensome as a time and fiscal expense for the school systems
The result – schools are likely not seeing a decline in mass BMI from alerting parents to the difficulties that their children may be struggling with from weight.
Researchers looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control, specifically those gathered from the Youth Behavior Risk Survey. They looked at 10th and 12th graders versus students whose parents opted them out from screenings in the 11th and 12th grades, as well as those who were screened.
Some in the study have commented that kids often take the advice of their parents at that age with a grain of salt and may be feeling they are “nagged” if they are instructed by parents that they must watch their weight, eat a more optimal diet and engage in more exercise activity.
Schools are using the data in most cases as part of overall improvement goals, as part of the health category. Goals could be to change times for recess or analyze other factors that may impact a child’s health and weight. There are also opportunities to look at the potential that weight and academic capabilities might also be linked.
Researchers, on the other hand at the University of Pennsylvania consider the BMI notifications to parents an important component in helping parents to identify weight issues and could be considered a secondary wake up call that actions must be taken for their child’s health.
However, those researchers consider that some letters may be burdensome to parents, especially if they are followed with three pages of explanation. Additionally, some students were purposefully altering their weight with ankle weights for fun during weigh ins. In other cases, the weights have been not properly reported and height measurements added on.
In 25 states, schools weigh students only and track students for their weight, advising parents if their child is overweight or obese based on the scale, not BMI.
- Does Extended Formula Feeding Affect the Appetite Of Your Infant?
- The Relationship between Maternal Folate Levels and Predictive Child Obesity
- Weight Based Bullying- Can Healthcare Providers Help?
- Measurement of Growth and Nutrition in Children
- Study: Maternal Gestational Diabetes Raises Risk of Childhood Obesity