by Max Brantley
NY Times editorial suggests the Body Mass Index readings of school children, pioneered in Arkansas, might not be such a good thing, by adding a fat grade to kids' worries.
As Jodi Kantor reported in The Times this week, B.M.I. scores and the percentile rankings can confuse already overburdened parents and demoralize students, who now have one more grade to consider. The index also isn’t a particularly precise measurement tool. Muscles, which weigh more than fat, can push up a B.M.I., labeling even a young athlete as physically unfit. If schools are going to hand out B.M.I. reports they need to do a better job explaining their significance to parents and children.
Schools certainly need to do more to help students manage their weight by limiting the sale of junk food and by serving less nachos and more fresh vegetables in cafeterias. Educators should also pump up gym classes. In an environment in which even a pimple can upset the fragile social pecking order, why add the stress of having to make weight?