This Kid's Not Fat - Let Alone Obese! - The UltimateFatBurner Blog

This Kid’s Not Fat – Let Alone Obese!

This story makes me happy (all over again) that my kids are grown, and are no longer in the K-12 educational system.


It’s just another example of “one-size-fits-all” bureaucratic thinking. I had my fill of it when my kids were in school… and so did my kids, for that matter.

As Jane Brody wrote in this 2010 New York Times article…

“The simple answer is that the index, usually called B.M.I. for short, is a crude measure of fatness in individuals. Calculated by dividing one’s weight in kilograms by the square of one’s height in meters, it doesn’t differentiate between fatty and lean tissue.

‘The B.M.I. tables are excellent for identifying obesity and body fat in large populations, but they are far less reliable for determining fatness in individuals,’ explained Dr. Carl Lavie, a cardiologist at the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans.”

Dr. Lavie nailed it. It’s one thing to gather BMI data on a population of school children for statistical purposes, but quite another to use it to assess individual kids  – which is what the “fat letters” are all about. Although the letters acknowledge that “BMI may not tell the whole story about your child’s weight,” that’s a caveat tacked on after the judgment has already been made.


Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

1 Comment

  1. That young man looks like a very healthy 4th grader. Healthier and more physically fit than most. As always it seems that the schools are trying to be helpful, but it isn’t working.

    Whoever screened him should have noted that his BMI shows obeseity, but he obviously isn’t. I can see at that age where a “fat letter” sent home could have a bad effect on a child. It could cause ridicule from fellow students, and other phsycological issues.

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