More Schools Including Weight, BMI On Report Cards

More Schools Including Weight, BMI On Report Cards

Forget the familiar A, B and C on your child's report card -- the new letters to look out for could be B, M and I.

Sending students home with a "weight grade" has been a growing trend over the past few years, with several U.S. states adopting policies to list a BMI calculation on children's school report cards, often with exercise or nutrition tips to help parents keep kids on track. And now Malaysia has just passed a countrywide policy to include a BMI score at school alongside the typical academic marks.

These weight report cards at school are the latest weapon in the fight against the growing obesity epidemic in children -- rates of high BMIs have tripled over the past three decades and close to one in three American children are now overweight or obese, sparking First Lady Michelle Obama to launch her Let's Move campaign.

The health effects of childhood obesity and high BMI are well-known: excess pounds can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea, among other serious health problems in adulthood.

And now this school- sponsored message may give parents a needed reality check -- a 2010 survey from Trust for America's Health found that 84 percent of parents believe their children are at a healthy weight, even though almost one third of kids are actually overweight or obese.

"When students and their parents 'know their numbers' and the consequences of those numbers, they are more likely to do something about them," Huffington Post blogger Lloyd I Sederer, M.D., medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health wrote in a recent post.

On the other side of the issue, critics question the government's place in getting involved in something as personal as weight. Where do you stand on the debate?

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