Low-grade fat

Arkansas schoolchildren now receive report cards grading them on reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic — and rotundness. The weight rankings come with health tips for parents on nutrition and exercise.

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Comments

  1. I teach in Missouri, and a few months ago one of my school’s teachers printed off an Internet article about what Arkansas was planning to do to wage war on its “calorically-challenged” student population. We laughed and assumed it was a joke. Obviously it wasn’t. I saw the Fox News story. What got me more than anything was the fact that some of the people bemoaning the fact that many Arkansas students are overweight are themselves (you’ll need to sit down for this one) OVERWEIGHT!!! As is so often the case with things in education, hypocrisy rules. It is yet another example of “do as I say, not as I do.” My big question is what will schools do with this information? Are parents going to be held responsible if their children don’t lose weight? Could Johnny or Janie be “held back” because they’re a little huskier than their classmates? I know that sounds outrageous, but I thought it sounded outrageous when I heard that Arkansas was going to start sending home weight report cards.

  2. Richard Brandshaft says:

    I expect the usual conservative reflexive hostility to any attempt to promote health and safety.

    h,
    There is nothing hypocritical about overweight adults showing concern about overweight children. Who would be more aware of the hazards? Is it hypocritical if an alcoholic says, “Be careful with alcohol. Look what it did to me.”?

    Being overweight is like being an alcoholic; it’s never really cured, just arrested. I speak from personal experience. But I was overweight from childhood well into adulthood. Had I been caught early, I might not have had to struggle with my weight all my life. As to those conservatives who will say it’s a trivial matter of will power, and all I have to do is eat less and exercise more: I don’t have an answer that conforms to the standards of civility JJ sets.

  3. I know it isn’t a matter of willpower, especially if one eats when one is lonely or unhappy. The key is changing why you eat: when one fixes the emotions and starts doing something else when one would usually eat to comfort themselves, the weight changes.

    I know this is true. Sometimes it’s a battle not to eat when I’m lonely. But if I can just distract myself long enough, I don’t. And, with the example of my family (the lightest of whom is still 50 lbs overweight), I have managed to keep my weight … manageable.

  4. Good Lord! It’s nice to see that the schools have done such a great job of turning out literate and numerate students that they now have so much time on their hands that they can see out new challenges.

    Seriously, how about getting the basic job done first before trying to build the empire?

  5. Mark Odell says:

    Richard Brandshaft wrote: I expect the usual conservative reflexive hostility to any attempt to promote health and safety.

    If by “promote” you mean “coerce some individuals to obey some other individuals’ personal moral opinions about”, then you’re correct, and hostility (“reflexive” or otherwise) to the idea is appropriate.

    Is it hypocritical if an alcoholic says, “Be careful with alcohol. Look what it did to me.”?

    It is if s/he’s not a recovering alcoholic. (Scroll down to Eating Sugar.)

    Being overweight is like being an alcoholic; it’s never really cured, just arrested.

    More correctly, the condition which causes being overweight is all those things.

    holly, hope this helps.

  6. Richard,
    I myself am “calorically challenged” so I know how difficult it is to lose and keep off weight. I’ve struggled with it for years; however, it is a problem I have to deal with myself. I went to public schools and took all the required health and physical education classes. In college I had to take health again. I also had to take several physical education courses to fulfill my requirements. None of that helped me with my weight problem. As has already been pointed out in this thread, for some people weight is something that cannot be controlled simply by learning the ABC’s of nutrition. Arkansas can spend billions on promoting health and safety. I (in all honesty) couldn’t care less. It’s their tax money, let them spend it where they want. The questions I asked were the heart and soul of my post. What will schools and these “officials” do with this information? I couldn’t help but notice that you didn’t attempt to answer them. Perhaps, like me, you don’t know the answers. If what I wrote came across as “usual conservative reflexive hostility,” I’m NOT sorry. You stated that perhaps if your weight problems had been addressed when you were younger, things might have turned out differently. That could very well be true…for you. Speaking for myself, if I got a “report card” declaring me to be overweight, I would be devastated. No one had to tell me then (or now) that I’m overweight. I knew and still know. I’m reminded every day. Are schools willing to sacrifice the emotional/mental health of their students in an attempt to solve their physical health problems? It may sound irrational, but weight is a subject that evokes very emotional responses from people, including children.

  7. Ross (the heartless conservative) says:

    Richard wrote:
    As to those conservatives who will say it’s a trivial matter of will power, and all I have to do is eat less and exercise more…

    Losing weight is not a matter of will power but it is as simple as you have laid it out. If you decrease your calorie consumption and increase your exercise level so that the net calories consumed is less that the calories needed to substain you at your current weight you will lose weight.

    I had a gambling problem at one time. The solution to the problem was very easy, stop gambling. I lost everything I had and went into debt and even then it took a while before I kicked the habit. It was just a matter of willpower for me to stop, but it was not trivial nor was I successful at stopping as soon as I would have liked.

    It is my belief that for most of us in the United States our life is largely the result of the decisions we have made.

    And by the way, if it would make you feel any better you are welcome to send any rude comments to my email account in case there are children reading these comments.

    “”A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away.””

    -Ronald Reagan

  8. dhanson says:

    I wonder how this will affect the attitudes of children who are otherwise good students but don’t meet the weight requirements of the schools?

    I was a relatively bright kid and I got good grades in school. Except in Physical Education. I was fat, clumsy and completely unathletic. My PE grades were awful. I tried, which was worth a D plus or a C minus. Because PE was mandatory, those grades kept me off the honor roll, or dropped me from the A to the B honor roll quarter after quarter. Eventually I lost a lot of motivation to do well in my classes. I still learned, but I ceased to care as much if my knowledge was reflected in my grades.

    I can see similar reactions from these children being graded on their appearance rather than strictly their academic achievements.

  9. I guess this all goes to the other discussion on different intelligences……. dhanson: face it; you’re just stupid when it comes to physical intelligence…… (dummy dummy dummy…fatso’s tummy)