Athletic schoolgirl, 11, who does gymnastics, plays hockey and goes hiking is told by British authorities she is OVERWEIGHT
Aged 11, Katie Lee is a picture of health – and sporty to boot with a love for hockey and hiking with her fellow Scouts. But the NHS scheme that monitors primary school children’s weight bizarrely believes that she is fat.
Katie’s mother Emma was outraged when she received a letter describing her daughter, who stands 5ft 5in tall and weighs 9st 10lb, as ‘overweight’.
Former nurse Mrs Lee, 34, described the scheme as ‘ridiculous’, saying it leaves girls feeling ‘sensitive’ about their weight and prone to eating disorders. She said: ‘I was so cross when I got the letter. ‘Katie’s tall and slim – far from overweight. They tell you she is overweight when obviously she’s not – she is very athletic.
‘The first thing she said when she saw the letter is “I’m not fat”. They also sent me a healthy eating leaflet, like I couldn’t look after my children.
'They hadn’t even seen my daughter. This is the sort of thing that gives young girls eating disorders. She is at a vulnerable, impressionable age, getting ready to leave primary school.
‘She is very fit and active, she takes the dogs out for a walk in the mornings and walks to meet friends. She is also in the Scouts and hikes for miles at the weekend. She plays hockey, rounders, touch rugby and does gymnastics.’
Katie was weighed at her primary school for The National Child Measurement Programme, set up in 2005 as part of a government strategy to tackle the growing obesity crisis in young people.
Under the scheme, children in their first and last year of primary school are weighed and measured to work out their body mass index, which is calculated by dividing weight in pounds by the square of height in inches.
Results are divided into categories labelled ‘underweight’, ‘normal’, ‘overweight’ or ‘very overweight’.
But Mrs Lee, who lives with her greengrocer husband, James, 37, and their children, Liam, 12, Katie and Lily, six, in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, thinks the Government should overhaul the scheme.
She said: ‘It’s not compulsory and I think the parents of overweight children may opt out of doing it, so whatever the results are being used for the system is flawed.
‘I think there needs to be something else, not just weighing and measuring, maybe that’s OK in reception but by Year 6 children’s bodies are changing with puberty. ‘It’s just not black and white, there is a lot of grey.’
Mrs Lee is not alone in her anger at NCMP. A survey carried out by the Institute of Education found more than half of parents whose children were classed as ‘overweight’ did not agree with the findings.
The 2010 research found that 53 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed with results that their children were fat.
One mother surveyed said: ‘You have said that my son is 1 lb overweight, but as long as my son is happy and healthy that is all that matters, and do you realise that with your comments you could cause people to panic and reduce their intake and cause anorexia.’
A spokesman for Public Health England said: ‘The measurement process is overseen by trained healthcare professionals in schools.
‘The children are weighed and measured and their BMI is then calculated by internationally recognised tables. We do not comment on individual cases.’
Cost of Complying with Michelle Obama’s School Lunch Overhaul? $3.2 BILLION!
As schools continue to grapple with the school lunch menu overhaul pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama, some are realizing their headache isn’t just from a lack of food.
The program involves way too much green -- and we’re not talking lettuce and brussel sprouts.
We mean the estimated $3.2 billion schools will have to find to implement the new federal regulations. Many schools are also losing money due the unpopular Obama menu.
“New school lunch regulations mean financial losses for Pittsfield Public Schools,” reported the Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts.
The school district expects a program operating loss of more than $100,000 due to a required equipment upgrade, as well as fewer lunches and snacks being sold.
Congressman Todd Rokita, a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, noted at a recent hearing, “Because the law requires students to take fruits and vegetables for lunch, even if they have no intention of eating them, schools are struggling with increased waste. After implementing the new standards a year early, one Florida school district estimated students threw out $75,000 worth of food.”
“At Dedham High School in Massachusetts, providing the required vegetables in 1500 meals each week costs the district about $111 a day -- but administrators report many students just throw the fresh vegetables right into the trash,” his statement read.
A New York district experienced a 50 percent decline in the number of student purchasing hot lunch.
“This decline in participation made it more difficult for the school to afford to serve lunches and breakfasts that met the federal meal requirements. As a result, the district’s food operation went $59,000 in the red and local leaders ultimately decided to opt-out of the National School Lunch Program,” Rokita said.
The USDA estimates implementation of the new guidelines will cost $3.2 billion over five years. Given that it’s a government estimate -- and if Obamacare is any guide, the cost for schools will likely be much higher.