Education board member blasts BMI mandate
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
December 14, 2011 12:15 AM | 4349 views | 31 31 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Marietta Board of Education member Randy Weiner denounced a new statewide mandate that will begin measuring a student’s body mass index as an example of unnecessary government intrusion into the private life of citizens.

During Tuesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck and her staff alerted the board that following the Christmas break, Marietta students, along with all other students in Georgia, will be required to receive an annual fitness test as part of the Georgia Student Health and Physical Education program approved by the Georgia legislature in 2009.

The test will be carried out in their physical education class.

“I have a hard time with the state setting a mandate to test every child’s BMI,” Weiner said. “It’s the parents’ responsibility to mandate the child’s fitness level and nutrition, not the state. I don’t find the need for the state to collect that information.”

Under the mandate, a child will be classified in one of two categories: as being in the “healthy fitness zone” or as “needs improvement.”

First through 12th-graders will have their height and weight recorded, while fourth through 12th-graders will also be measured on activities such as curl-ups, push-ups and aerobics. The school district will send home reports detailing how the fourth- through twelfth-grade students fared in May.

“This is new territory for all of us, and I think there will be a number of questions asked, but we want to share this with the board and community,” Lembeck said.

Weiner asked if there was a way for a student to opt out of the program. There is not, unless the student is on a special-needs plan, said Dr. Margaret Sims, the district’s curriculum and instruction director.

“It has to be done confidentially, and I also think that ultimately some parents will have some concern, but it is the law in Georgia and we need to do this,” Lembeck said.

It’s a law Weiner is displeased with.

“It seems like it’s a way to rub parents’ noses in the fact that their child is overweight, out of shape and what have you,” he said. “If they’re good parents, they already know it, so it doesn’t seem very useful. It’s a way for the state to collect data, that’s why this is mandated.”

And for parents who don’t pay attention to their child’s health, Weiner said this won’t change anything.

“A piece of paper pointing out whether or not your child is fit as defined by the state will not open the eyes of parents who don’t value good nutrition and exercise,” he said.
Comments
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Stacey Hopkins
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December 27, 2011
I suppose some of us have forgotten all about or don't remember the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. I do and back when I was in school in the 60's and 70's, we had to do physical fitness exams as mentioned by CA Native.

Settle down, folks. If you're freaked out about this, it's because it fits into a narrative you subscribed to already. Once again, fear rises up to prove to be our true gross national product.
Too much government!
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December 22, 2011
Board Member Weiner is right on target with his outrage. Our state government has gone way overboard. We need people like Board Member Weiner representing us at the Gold Dome.
Just a thought.....
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December 17, 2011
Here is a novel idea. Let's use this money to pay our teachers what we owe them, or to get the class sizes back down to a manageable number....THEN we can look at mandates such as this...WHEN WE CAN AFFORD THEM.
Mary Etta
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December 15, 2011
This is the last straw! My children will be home

schooled as of January 1st.
Really??!
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December 15, 2011
Oh- here come the nuts. Who would make such a drastic change in their child's education over this. I'm upset about it too, but would never think about pulling my child out of school over it. Get some stability woman.
Jump Rope
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December 15, 2011
Let's see which is worse- pulling a happy, well adjusted, good performing kid out of school mid-year by an emotional, high-strung parent or a 10 minute fitness test. It ALL goes back to the parents people- case in hand.

I feel sorry for the child. Where's the legislation to protect kids from crazy parents??
Common Cents
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December 27, 2011
I am one of those crazy parents with above average physical health and above average grades that clearly see that this law is as invasive as it gets. This is A breech of doctor/patient confidentiality with the state as a 3rd party. This is a clear violation of personal privacy rights under the false pretenses of giving a rats ass about your children's health. Government wants healthier children then bring Jamie Oliver down to Georgia and implement higher dietary standards and education NOT herding them like cattle and giving them slips of paper saying johnny needs to do more push-ups. If you want to comply with an invasive asinine law then take your behind to North Korea where they will do all of your thinking for you...
Marietta Ms
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December 15, 2011
We can also easily get a blood sample so we will have a record of each student's DNA and we must

get fingerprints.
At Last
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December 14, 2011
Finally, a position I can agree with Mr. Weiner. Thank you for opposing this, Randy, albeit a little late and a little beyond the control of MCS. Hell, yes HELL will freeze over before anyone monitors my child's BMI other than me as a parent, and the Pediatrician.

Enough is enough. When are people going to finally get that you can't blame it on a dem or repub - but simply establishment politicians? This is a Fed shove down to the State level - along with TSplost and other Nanny-grams.

It's none of ANYONE'S business - and MCS, you better get ready for an opt out position - and fast. You will NEVER get it on my kid!
CA Native
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December 14, 2011
I grew up in California in the 1950's & 1960's. Elementary & Junior High Schools routinely performed these kinds of screenings.In elementary school they did height, weight, posture (looking for scoliosis, knock knees, turned in ankles).We even had to undress to our underware for this. Yes, very embarassing. In Junior High we had to do 50 situps with legs straight and someone holding our feet, push ups, chin ups, climb a 50 foot rope (big time rope burn on the legs), throw a soft ball and some other things I don't recall. In Jr. High and High school we had P.E. EVERY DAY for an hour. That's 6 years of PE every school day. So what's proposed here is really nothing new, except now we are more suspicious of what the government will do with the results.
OMIPS
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December 14, 2011
It may be a state law but the force is coming from the federal government. For whatever reason they are insistent on determing who's fat and who's not.

Each of us are guaranteed... Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Contrast this quarantee against a law that requires that all students be measured (BMI) in order to determine who's fat and who's not and then tell me where is Liberty quaranteed and preserved.

We are in an age where there are far too many "do gooders" (lawyers, politicians and private interests i.e.,Arthur Blank) trying (and succeeding) in helping us manage our lives. Whether we want them or not.

We need fewer "do gooders" and more patriots.

Our Man In Powder Springs
I read
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December 14, 2011
If you read the bill HB 229, it does NOT require measuring BMI.
Agreed
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December 14, 2011
It's not a mandate, it's merely a suggestion. Local school boards can use whichever assessment method they wish, but the Marietta school board needs to move quickly to make that determination. It also won't measure each and every student -- just those who have a PE class at the time of testing.
homeschooling
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December 14, 2011
GA code 20-2-777 passed in 2009 "requires each local school district to conduct an annual fitness assessment program for all students in grades 1-12 enrolled in classes taught by certified physical education teachers." Yes, it doesn't say BMI but that is the idiotic standard. We all know on personal levels that few can truely make the "healthy range" and actualy feel health.

BMI doesn't take into account build or muscle weight. Muscle weighs more than fat. BMI makes my husband morbid obese and me underweight. Yet, when body fat is measured we are healthy.
JDTBQ
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December 14, 2011
In addition to providing an education, schools now need to: transport students to/from school, administer tests to determine learning disabilities, provide occupational, speech, and/or physical therapy, feed them a free or reduced lunch, sometimes breakfast, provide after-school programs, care, and snacks, teach basic hygiene, discourage teen drinking, drugs and pregnancy, dispense medication, promote diversity, curb bullying tendencies, provide counseling services, provide accommodations (including laptops, scanners, software) as required by the IEP, address career counseling, transport a teenager to planned parenthood if necessary, provide clothing if the child's clothing is inappropriate, report abuse or neglect to the state, provide communication that many don't read, and conferences that many don't attend, and now determine the child's overall health level. No doubt there's more required of our schools and teachers that most of us don't think about.

The government is making it easier and easier to be a crummy parent.
homeschooling
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December 14, 2011
AND yet we are getting so very close to turning our healthcare over to them too. This stands to be one place that will merge with the other.

Can we PLEASE get back to schools schooling and parents parenting?!
Al in Marietta
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December 15, 2011
Amen!
democrat & teacher
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December 14, 2011
Sonny Perdue was NOT a democrat...he ran as a democrat but then switched parties to prove it. A wolf in sheeps clothing.
Last GA Democrat
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December 14, 2011
Don't you mean that Sonny Perdue was NOT a Republican?...He switched parties to be able to stay in office when his district in Middle Georgia was turned off by the National Democrat Party's move to the far left and started voting Republican.

No matter how you slice it or dice it, Sonny was still a wolf in sheep's clothing. The true epitome of a R.I.N.O. With so many crossovers from the Democrat Party, Georgia Republicans about as conservative as, well, Mitt and Newt.
Just Asking?
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December 14, 2011
Can we also measure the BMI of the Georgia Legislature?
Square Bug
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December 15, 2011
With this thing that they have mandated for us, I

would like to measure their IQ.
Fed Up in East Cobb
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December 14, 2011
What a worthless waste of instructional time. If a school is designated as an "unhealthy school zone" what in the heck are they supposed to do about it? Didn't we also conclude that BMI was a rediculous way to measure obesity?
democrat & teacher
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December 14, 2011
so much for your republican majority keeping government small and out of our lives...

hypocrits.

they have their pockets so full of money from insurance companies which are now doing the same thing so they can charge us more for healthcare...

you voted them in, you can suffer with the rest of us.
What the!?
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December 14, 2011
Lighten up Wiener. Pull a teabag off your tri-cornered hat, boil some water, steep, sip, relax and listen.

Even though physical education assessments have been around since the 1980s, the state hasn't had a uniform way to test students.

The new program will provides tests that focus on muscle strength, body composition and endurance. It does not reward athletic skill. It targets overall health, not how many pushups they can do compared to another student for example.

The data collected by P.E. teachers will be compiled online and accessible to the district. The scores will follow a student throughout his or her school career in order to enhance fitness plans.

The program will put results in the hands of parents and it could serve as a wake-up call for some people to make a lifestyle change.

What is the district doing now to address student fitness besides throw up some educational food posters in cafeterias (while offering honey buns for breakfast)?

This shouldn't come as a surprise to you Mr Weiner. The Student Health and Physical Education Act was signed by Sonny Purdue in April of 2009.

Y'know, the pilot program was funded by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. Why do you hate the Falcons and Home Depot? (wink)
Mom of 4 says no
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December 14, 2011
Why in the world is it the school's right to weigh and measure kids? Why??? Are the kids there to learn? I remember being a teenage girl and even though I was skinny, I would have been humiliated. No one is weighing and measuring my child. This has gone way too far.
NannyStateBlues
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December 14, 2011
The constant and excessive expansion of the Nanny-State rolls on. In less than a generation from now, once Obamacare is in fully in place, the State will know who has "needed improvement" in their physical health (based on the terribly inaccurate and misleading BMI figure) since being a teenager. From this, Your Government will be able to require you go to the back of the line for healthcare because you didn't behave and follow their BMI orders way back when. Sorry. Only those that follow the will of the State will be allowed to live longer.

Preposterous? Nope. That's how these statists think. All they understand is perpetual expansion of government to control others...including how long they will have top health care. (By the way, Obamacare NECESSARILY REQUIRES rationing of healthcare due to its economic structure...but this is an analysis for another day.)

As for BMI as a proper measurement tool, please consider muscle is much more dense than fat. Hence, a very muscular person will often weigh more than a less muscular person of the same height and body shape. However, the more muscular person may very well have a "needs improvement" BMI score because his/her weight is....by simplistic government rules....too high for a particular weight. This, of course, is an inaccurate observation.

Water immersion is the only way to more accurately measure body fat as a proxy for overall health...and this is not necessarily a perfect proxy at that. BMI is totally wrong, however.
retired teacher
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December 14, 2011
If the state is that worried about a student's health, then they would see to it that schools stop selling candy, chips and soft drinks to the students! There is never anything healthy in those vending machines.
GeorgiaBev
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December 14, 2011
The beverage industry has voluntarily removed all full calorie soft drinks out of schools nationally. In fact, only low calorie and zero calorie soft drinks, water, juices and teas are served in middle and high schools. We have a set of school beverage guidelines that have helped us reduce the amount of calories we send to schools by 88% since 2006.
look at lunch
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December 14, 2011
Add to that the processed school lunch & flavored (sugar) milk; it that adding to the health of our children? NO!
Retired ol' doc
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December 14, 2011
This is just the beginning of the end of our freedom. I sincerely hope some of our lawyer

friends will quickly file suit to stop this

unwanted and unneeded intrusion into our

sacred privacy. This is the most absurd

malfeasance of government that I have ever

witnessed. What happened to our lawmakers?
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