The mother of an 11-year-old in Naples, Fla., last month saw her child come home from school with a letter from the county health department. When she opened it, she was faced with the ultimate horror.
The letter said her daughter was — overweight!
The mortified mom Kristen Grasso was looking at health screening of her athletic, volleyball-playing child, Lily. The screenings are carried out routinely by the Collier County Health Department. As depicted on local news station WFTX, the screening lists Lily as 63 inches tall and 124 pounds, giving her a Body Mass Index of 22.
That placed Lily (pictured with mom) slightly above the 89th percentile of kids her age for BMI. When Grasso looked up what that meant online, she found that it classified her daughter as overweight.
“Lily is tall, athletic, solid muscle,” Grasso told the local news station. “By no means is she overweight.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, any measurement between the 5th and 85th percentile is deemed “healthy.” Above the 85th is “overweight.” The 95th percentile and above is “obese.”
At least Lily was spared that nightmare.
“My concern is, kids that see results like this test may be classified as overweight and they aren’t, and the self-esteem issues they may get,” Grasso worries. She also believes that the screenings should be carried out in a doctor’s office, not at school.
County health department spokesperson Deb Millsap told the news station that such screenings are required under state law and are carried out at schools throughout Florida. But, she says, parents can opt their kids out of the tests.
Grasso said that when she received the notice that her daughter was to receive the “growth and development” screening, she didn’t think it would include weighing her child.
She also told WFTX reporters that her daughter is 5-foot-5, making her one of the tallest girls in her class. If her measurement in accurate, rather than the 5-foot-3 listed on the screening, that would give Lily a BMI of between 20 and 21, according to the CDC’s BMI calculator.
That number falls within the “healthy” range.
Sources: WFXT-TV, Center For Disease Control