At 3 feet 10 inches and just 54 pounds in the second grade, Kylie Moss is not overweight. Not even close.
But that didn’t stop her school from sending home a note to her parents that her body mass index (BMI) was too high and the family should take measures to help her lose weight. Her BMI measured 17.9, outside the healthy range for 7-year-olds.
“She’s tiny!” her mom, Amanda Moss, told KMBC news in Kansas City. “She has no body fat at all!” she said with a laugh.
Hillcrest Elementary in Kansas City sent home a letter that recommended Kylie “trade current snacks for healthier ones, and find opportunities for healthy activity.”
And while helping parents keep their kids healthy might seem like a noble goal for a school, this policing of kids’ bodies has unintended consequences.
“She goes, ‘Does this mean I’m fat?’ And I said, ‘no,'” Amanda said about Kylie’s reaction to the letter. “This does not mean you’re fat.”
When they are 7 years old, do we need our little girls’ bodies being policed like this? Do we really want 7-year-olds worrying about whether their bodies conform to a box on a chart? Doesn’t sound like the best way to go about encouraging kids to be healthier.
The school district says that, moving forward, it will let parents know ahead of time about testing dates and allow them the opportunity to opt out of their kids being tested.
“Personal image is a big deal, and if you’re starting out a child at a very young age, telling them they’re overweight, it’s a problem.”
It seems like every day there are more stories of schools having to worry about stuff that used to be the business of the family at home. Just last week a teacher sent home a permission slip for kids to eat Oreos in class. What happened to schools that were focused on teaching and learning?
What do you think? Is school the best place to police kids’ bodies? Was the note too much? Or is keeping our kids healthy too important to worry about body image?