(Albany NY) Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (Brooklyn), would like parents to receive information about their children’s weight status along with their grades. He is pushing for the passage of his legislation, A. 5763, which would require schools to include an annual Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile by age for each student as part of a confidential health report sent to parents. The bill would also require schools to provide parents with an explanation of the possible health effects of body mass index, nutrition and physical activity annually.
“We need to give parents a tool to help them to determine what a healthy weight range for their child’s age group is, and which weight categories may lead to health problems. Every year, schools gather height and weight information. This information could be used to determine the student’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and then that BMI number could be shared with the parents”, stated Ortiz. The bill also includes providing parents with information about the significance of that number and the importance of improved nutrition and physical activity.
The NYC Health Department found that nearly half of elementary-aged children are overweight. According to the NYS WIC Association over 32% of the children age 2-5 who are participating in New York State are overweight or at risk of being overweight. This leads to illnesses such as diabetes in young children. Research done by CDC indicated that one in three children born in the United States in 2000 will become diabetic in their lifetime unless children start eating less and exercising more.
“We have to act now to prevent a ticking time bomb that will overwhelm our health care system and resources in the coming years. BMI testing in our schools is an important step in facing this crisis head on and raising obesity awareness amongst the parents of New York State”, stated Ortiz.