Dear Parents: Your Kid Is Fat. Signed, Your Kid's School
The kids call them "fat letters." They are notes sent home to parents from schools letting them know their youngsters are obese, and schools in L.A. are starting to send those letters out.The letters are intended to inform parents of the results of weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) testing. In Los Angeles, reports CBS2, they're being called "healthy or unhealthy" letters, and will be sent out in October.
"Fat letters" aren't just an L.A. thing—earlier this year similar letters (with the same nickname) based on BMI results went out to parents in Massachusetts. Parents were outraged, fearing the letters about kids being overweight—or underweight—could harm the children's self-esteem, or cause tension between friends.
“No one wants get letter saying they’re obese. That’s a very strong, uncomfortable word, and we didn’t see if fitting with our son who is very active, he’s very strong,” said one parent of a sports-playing kid who was sent home with a "fat letter."
One registered dietitian who checks out the weight of school kids locally told CBS2 "out of the 900 2 to 5-year-old children she looks at, roughly 200 are listed as obese."
The "fat letters" are supposedly worded in a "gentle fashion" and come with handouts about ways the parents can help their child improve his or her health.
Of course, a "fat letter" might go over better than, say, a teacher calling a student fat on Facebook, which happened a couple of years ago in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The LAUSD also happens to be where the healthier school lunches program could be no more.
Meanwhile, other school districts in the region aren't penning "fat letters," but rather sticking to the numbers, and simply sending home the BMI testing results.