by Max Brantley
I've been hearing and reading about legislative testimony today from UAMS that about two-thirds of parents and 85 percent of students are "comfortable" with the mandatory BMI readings being taken in school.
Maybe. And the skeptics -- like Anderson and Medley -- aren't exactly legislators I'd tie to. But having been through the weighing ritual as an enormous elementary school student -- 225 in the fourth grade, though, thankfully, still 225 on a good day and 6-5 as a high school senior -- I confess some doubt about kids' wide acceptance of the practice. Unless of course it means they don't much care any more. (I know. I know. The process is supposed to be confidential. The dread of the regular weigh-in wasn't diminished a bit for me in the fourth grade by that promise. Nor, of course, was the promise always kept. On teacher loved to make my size an example for the class. I was sort of one of the seven wonders of Hamilton Elementary.)
No doubt we have a problem with weight in America. But we still have Coke machines in schools. We kid ourselves that 16-ounce jugs of orange juice are healthy, when a Bud tallboy would give you fewer calories. We still don't provide for daily exercise for kids in school of any meaningful sort. We overemphasize team sports to the detriment of lifelong activities. We don't serve enough vegetables and fruit at home or school. Kids are assaulted by ads for the worst kinds of food. The government even encourages production of the crack cocaine of fatties -- corn syrup. And on it goes. And we think shaming little kids can make a difference against all this? About that, I do have doubts.