You have got to be kidding me! How can so-called intelligent adults pass a law so downright cruel? Sometimes I think adults take advantage of the resilience of children. They think they can impose great humiliation on poor, naive children, without any long-term cost.
Well I have news for you – children, like adults, don’t like being made to feel ugly, different or unworthy. So why on earth would you pass a law that mandates schools to weigh children so that their weight can be compared with others?
A state law requiring schools to measure a child’s height and weight to find out how they stack up against their peers has generated plenty of controversy, but not a lot of local participation.
School officials say the law’s aim to combat childhood obesity is a worthy cause, but its approach is questionable.
The law measures body mass index, which is calculated from height and weight and given as a percentile. It’s generally a snapshot of a person’s overall body fat, but many argue it doesn’t take into account individual body types or other health risks.
Schools are required to take those measurements for students in kindergarten, third, fifth and ninth grades, then report that data to the Ohio Department of Health and mail the results to parents.
State education officials say similar health screenings, such as hearing and vision tests, have been done for many years with the results kept private.
What if the law was to include Ohio politicians? What if they were forced to step on the scale in front of their peers and were measured for all to see?
Yes, privacy might be assured, but children aren’t stupid. They know why they are being measured, and the humiliation of the procedure will not be lost on the overweight.
This plan is doomed to failure.
My wish, as idealistic as it sounds, is to make our children comfortable with who they are, regardless of their weight. Whilst I strongly advocate educating children about healthy eating choices and encouraging active lifestyles, I am even more concerned about the inner wellbeing of the child. To me, the tragedy is not that there are obese children, but that there are children who feel unworthy, ugly and hopeless because of their weight.
It’s time to get rid of the scales and let our children know that their worth is not the sum total of what they weigh, but rather, who they are and how they treat others.