So, Massachusetts is reporting lower child obesity rates in the same week that public health officials decided to stop the controversial practice of public schools sending home letters to parents informing them of their children’s weight (“Obesity rate decreases for Mass. children,” Page A1, Oct. 17). This seems like a case of withdrawing the medicine before the patient is cured.
With about a third of kids still overweight or obese, the problem is nowhere near over yet. Some parents and kids need more extensive help.
While it was a crazy idea to send home letters in kids’ backpacks, let’s not lose sight of the fact that parents DO need to be informed about their children’s weight if it begins to jeopardize their health. Because many pediatricians still don’t raise the issue, and because many low-income children may not even see a pediatrician regularly, there is a clear role for schools to play.
Schools should send letters with body mass index results to ALL parents by e-mail or mail, and should include a list of resources and educational information about changes parents and kids can make to get on a healthier track.
Don’t stop informing parents when their kids’ health is at stake; rather, give them the help they need to move in the right direction.
The writer is the founder of the health website fitsmi.com.