Officials in a Missouri school are under fire for telling a seven-year-old girl who weighs a slight 54 pounds that her body mass index (BMI) was too high, the girl’s mother said Wednesday.
The letter from the Belton School District confused little Kaylee Moss, her mother reported.
“She goes, ‘Does this mean I’m fat?’ and I said, ‘No, this does not mean you are fat,'” the girl’s mother, Amanda Moss, told KMBC in Kansas City.
According to the school’s reckoning, the little girl’s BMI classified her as overweight. But the girl’s mom thinks the claim is absurd. “She is tiny,” Moss said. “She has no body fat at all.”
Ms. Moss said that the school’s effort to put her daughter “in a box” is “absolutely unacceptable.”
The school has apologized for the letter and said it was reevaluating its practice.
Belton School District Superintendent Andrew Underwood said that in the future, parents will be informed of the BMI testing and will be able to have their children excluded from the program.
“We do the body mass index on our students for positive reasons to try to promote healthy habits as far as what the kids eat and their activity,” Underwood told the media. “There was no malicious intent by this.”
Underwood also said that the program is paid for by a grant.
Body mass index testing has been controversial since it was first introduced. According to a 2009 NPR report, even the man who invented the measuring system said it cannot be used to measure a person’s fatness.
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