Schools in North Andover, Mass. are trying to help students fight obesity, but some families say the schools are going too far.
Letters telling parents that their kids are obese are going to homes throughout the Commonwealth. Fourth-grader Cameron Watson received one of those letters, though he isn’t exactly obese.
“I wrestle, play football, baseball, I ride bikes, play basketball, baseball, MMA. I know I’m not obese so I don’t really care about the letter. I just crumpled it up,” said Cameron.
The Department of Public Health says 32 percent of Massachusetts students have a body mass index that shows they’re overweight or obese, and the letters are supposed to be a helpful tool for parents.
Cameron’s dad Matt says they’re a waste, and that they don’t take into account muscle mass.
“No one wants get a letter being told they are obese that’s a very strong, uncomfortable word and we just didn’t see it fitting with our son. He’s very active, he’s very strong,” said Matt Watson.
Cameron’s mother is a selectwoman in North Andover. She is working with state representatives to stop these fat letters.
“I don’t think all of a sudden we have to wake-up and say the people of Massachusetts need to be told everything to do with their kids, whether it’s to feed them a cupcake or to feed them broccoli,” said Jim Lyons, a member of the Massachusetts General Court.
Cam says he has the self-esteem to overlook a label, but he’s more worried about his friends who might not be as strong.
“I don’t like that my friends like their feelings are getting hurt,” said Cameron.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is also sending letters home to students who are underweight.
The department says all families have the option of not having their children screened for their Body Mass Index.