Flagstaff’s Schools “Health Report Card” Feeding Parents the Wrong Message?

PATRICIA HAWKE

In Arizona, elementary schools in the Flagstaff District are sending home notices to children’s parents that their kids are overweight. They weigh and measure every student and if the student is heavy for their height, underweight, or moderately close to one of these extremes they get a notice sent home to their parents telling them what needs to change. Is this too early for a student to have to worry about their body? This “notice” seems it would cause self esteem issues in these young children. Isn’t there a time when a child is supposed to just be a worry-free kid?
We adults think back to our childhood and say, wouldn’t it be nice to have that young innocent worry-free mind again? Now think back again to how you would feel if your parents received that notice. It seems that the school district is overstepping their boundaries as school officials. Schools should focus on teaching; doctors should warn parents of potential health risks. What the schools could do that would benefit the children would be to offer healthy food at the school’s cafeteria, take out soda machines in the hallways and promote their Physical Education department. It seems lazy and cheap for them to send a notice; they are basically saying, were not going to serve healthy food because it’s too expensive and were too cheap to enhance our Physical Education department. Because of this laziness, children’s self esteem gets affected because now there is something “wrong” with them. 
On top of all this, the notice is like a slap in the face to a lot of parents. It’s basically criticizing them as parents saying they feed their children junk, too much, or not enough. Parents know their children, they see them every day, they know if their son or daughter is a little heavy, but realizes they may be going through a growth spurt soon just like they did as kids. They know their skinny son or daughter with the fast metabolism will fill out with age. Everybody is built different, some people can weigh heavy because of muscle or because they’re bigger boned. These people can be the healthiest individuals and eat right and exercise but they are just different. The kids that ring in normal can be the ones that eat fast food every day and play video games all day after school, but their body metabolizes the food faster, so they are considered healthy, according to the schools scale.
The way I see it, if the Arizona schools were genuinely concerned on their rankings or ratings in the area of student health, they would implement programs to create healthy children! They would pay the extra dollar for the fruit, sandwiches and salads instead of the rubber chicken nuggets they offer in the cafeteria. They would remove the vending machines and enhance their gyms and physical education departments. The children would prosper much more than going home with their heads down to their parents with their failed “Health report card”.  
For more information please visit Arizona School Rankings and Arizona School Ratings .

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