Thursday, April 09, 2009
This is exactly the kind of story that makes me wish the New York Times really would close the Boston Globe, as they've been threatening. Not to blame the messenger or anything.
But come on--has it really come to this? This fall, Massachusetts schools will send home "weight reports" with students in first, fourth, seventh, and tenth grades, which will, according to this story, alert parents "if their child weighs to much or too little."
Multiple levels of Argh! apply here. Too much or too little according to whom? Will this be another episode in the Annals of Administrators Acting as Doctors? Who, exactly, will become the Weight Police?
Authorities in Mass. promise that the new reports will "provide suggestions on where to turn for help." I'd love to see them. No, wait, I've already seen them! Because there's nothing concrete or new here. We can predict that the state's suggestions on how to "help" kids who weigh "too much" will not be helpful at all, because, um, read the news, people--we don't know how to make people thinner. Even if we all agreed that everyone should weigh a certain weight, we haven't the faintest idea on how to get them to weigh that for more than a month or two.
Have these folks not seen the research on how dieting makes you fatter? Do they think they know something the rest of us don't know?
The geniuses behind this legislation dismiss worries that the new mandate will trigger eating disorders. That's pretty ignorant. I'm guessing they have no idea how toxic the dialogue gets around food and weight, especially in middle school. My 8th grader tells me that body bashing is "a bonding experience" among the girls in her class; if you don't join in, you're not one of the group. Swell. I think a mandate like this will really help, don't you?
Please go to the article and leave a comment. Please, if you live in Massachusetts, write to your legislators. (Here's a list with links.) Let your voice be heard on this one.