Obesity: the truth is hard to swallow


MARISSA MARARAC | Evergreen columnist

When it comes to battling obesity, some parents and children need a wake-up call.

Staying healthy and in shape is more important than ever. Obesity rates have doubled in adults since 1980, from 15 to 30 percent, according to Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). In children, obesity rates have more than tripled.

Obesity has become a major issue related to one-quarter of health-care costs, also according to TFAH. It’s a beneficial idea that some school districts are now measuring students’ body fat to help find obesity levels in local communities.

School districts in nearly one-quarter of all states are recording body mass index scores of their students to track children’s weight, according to an article by the Associated Press.

By measuring student’s weight and height every two years, the school districts then use the two figures to calculate a body mass index.

Some school districts keep calculations anonymous, using the results only as a means to collet local data, while other districts track individual students and notify the parents of those children who are classified at an unhealthy weight, according to the same Associated Press article.

The problem is some parents who receive these “obesity report cards” or “fat letters” feel as though these reports hinder the self-esteem of their child.

I can see how it would be hard to read that your child weighs more than a healthy weight, but parents should be glad their school districts are taking initiative and trying to help.

Research shows overweight children are susceptible to a host of health problems down the line, according to ABC News.

If school districts can help prevent this from happening, parents should be on board with the reports and the results, especially when we live in a world that has 24-hour cupcake machines.

In fact, Chula Vista School District located in California has taken steps to healthier lifestyles for students as a reaction to students’ high obesity results.

These steps include banning cupcakes at school birthdays, and creating partnerships with doctors, as stated by the Associated Press.

Because children spend a majority of their time at school, steps should be taken by all school districts nationwide to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

The measurements and notifications given to students and parents are not meant to be a bullying tactic.

Acceptance is the first step, but overcoming obesity rates needs to be the last step.

– Marissa Mararac is a junior communication major from Tacoma. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by opinion@dailyevergreen.com. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.