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Letter: New Richmond schools are BMI testing our kids

To the Editor:

Recently we, like many other parents, received a letter from the New Richmond School District indicating that our child was measured and weighed at the beginning of the school year as part of a health assessment.

With this data a BMI (Body Mass Index) was calculated for our child and based on this number it was indicated that our daughter was considered overweight -- a tall, slender, happy, healthy 7-year-old. A sign up sheet for a physical education class through Community Education was also enclosed.

To say we were shocked was an understatement. Not only that our child was considered overweight, but that such a test was being conducted on children who are growing at leaps and bounds, whose physical characteristics can change almost daily!

As concerned parents we contacted our family physician who confirmed that our daughter, although in the upper percentile, was proportionately correct and right on track for her age.

Although the school district's intents were probably good and concerned with childhood obesity, it is the manner in which this was performed which is so outraging.

First, there is no state mandate that says this testing is necessary or study that suggests that overweight children are unable to learn as well as other students.

Second, it was being suggested an additional physical education class would be beneficial, not joined because of interest.

Third, parental notification was never obtained to participate in such an assessment.

And lastly a letter that stated point blank your child is considered overweight by our standards and contact your physician for further guidance was even sent out.

Does the school district really think that if your child is overweight, we as parents and our family physicians are unaware of this, or choosing to do nothing about it? Do they not consider the affects, such as low self-esteem or anorexia, of sharing their opinion with our children, especially at such an impressionable age? Or for that matter the affects on teenagers?

Maybe the schools should concentrate on education, their specialty, and leave our children's health needs to our family physicians, their specialty.

Nicholas and Corey Rogers

Star Prairie