A member of the Marietta Board of Education is criticizing the state mandate that will require BMI testing for all students in public schools.
“It seems like it’s a way to rub parents’ noses in the fact that their child is overweight, out of shape and what have you,” he said. “If they’re good parents, they already know it, so it doesn’t seem very useful. It’s a way for the state to collect data, that’s why this is mandated.”
And for parents who don’t pay attention to their child’s health, Weiner said this won’t change anything.
“A piece of paper pointing out whether or not your child is fit as defined by the state will not open the eyes of parents who don’t value good nutrition and exercise,” he said.
You may remember this from a few years back when Senate Bill 506 (2008) was passed. First designed to allow a ranking of fat schools on a state website, the measure was amended to focus more on fitness tests. But BMI measurement is still part of the data collection. “First through 12th-graders will have their height and weight recorded, while fourth through 12th-graders will also be measured on activities such as curl-ups, push-ups and aerobics.”
Body mass index is a measure that simply plugs in a person’s weight and height to determine whether they fall within the healthy range or whether they are underweight, overweight or obese. There are two main criticisms of BMI. First, that the tool does not distinguish between lean body mass and fat, so that for example, a muscular athlete may have single-digit body fat but still register as obese by BMI. Second, that the tool is useful for comparing conclusions about populations, but not individual cases.
Well, here’s a suggestion. Recently, Republicans have introduced bills to require volunteer work in order to be eligible for unemployment insurance and to mandate drug testing to receive your unemployment check. Some folks have responded with the idea of testing legislators before they can take office.
How about requiring candidates to have their height and weight measured and published before they can take office?