Staten Island, New York – Little 9-year-old Gwendolyn Williams is playful healthy young girl who by all accounts doesn’t have a care in the world. She stands 4’1″ tall and weighs 66 pounds. According to a group of fat police at the Department of Education called “FitnessGram”, her body mass index (BMI) is 19 and should be less, reports the New York Post.
“I’m 4-foot-1, and 66 pounds, and I’m like what?!” the P.S. 29 student told the newspaper after she received the letter.
“I just don’t think that it’s fair to be called overweight when you’re not really overweight,” the Staten Island girl said.
They mailed a letter intended to be read by her parents, but which was addressed to her. The letter said she was overweight. The group recommend she get in more exercise. Gwendolyn has an independent spirit and shrugged off the recommendation saying she gets in plenty of activity.
Her mother is displeased that FitnessGram sends out letters to children. Honestly, she doesn’t think it is something they should be intruding in, but if any correspondence they mail ought to be directed to the parents. She is concerned that a child may have their feelings hurt by such remarks.
“My response is, they’re kids. How can you believe they’re not going to open it?” Laura Bruij Williams told the NY Post.
Thankfully in her case, Gwendolyn wasn’t fazed by letter at all.
The story has naturally caused outrage.
One reader of MyFox writes:
If it were up to the teachers, we would cancel it. We are required to give the tests, most of which do not measure a child’s fitness. This is a National (aka Federal) mandate of Public Schools. It has been complained about since it first came out. It’s just one more hoop we have to jump through that doesn’t really have any academic value, takes huge amounts of time better spent doing PE that is fun, and detracts from valuable classroom time.
Another reader adds:
She is not over weight. Kids should be given positive influence at school, any kid will open a letter sent home to see what it’s about. If the education system wants to go that far than they should have a class to teach them what is good for them to eat and what they should try to stay away from, not send a letter home….Again…this child is not overweight!!!!! Some of the teachers should look in the mirror! Just sayin………..
Chevese Turner, from the Binge Eating Disorder Association, told the NY Post that BMI was created years ago by insurance companies that wanted to rate people’s health in groups instead of individually.
“Dieting, especially for kids, is the gateway drug for eating disorders, and so is the public shaming that can come with this,” Turner said referring to the Fitnessgrams.
“My organization and others believe that BMI report cars have no place coming from schools and can be more harmful than helpful,” Turner said.
The DOE told Fox 5 the testing is based on a national model. “FitnessGram notices are a longstanding tool that help families stay aware of weight and fitness as one part of an overall approach to ensuring their child’s health.”
Is NYC ‘Fat-Shaming’ Students? Third-Grader Told She Is Overweight In Letter
66 pound girl overweight: This kid is fat (according to the City of New York)