School sending home ‘fat letters’ with kids

Posted at 11:16 PM, Feb 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-27 23:16:47-05

Schools in North Andover, Massachusetts are trying to help students fight obesity, but some families say the schools are going too far.

The fourth grader Cameron Watson isn't just a strong athlete. He wrestles, plays football, baseball, rides bikes, plays basketball, baseball, and MMA.

The letters are going to plenty of homes throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Department of Public health says 32 percent of students have a body mass index that indicates they're overweight or obese.

And these letters are supposed to be a helpful tool for parents.

Cam's dad says the letters are a waste,  that they don't take into account muscle mass.

“No one wants get a letter being told they are obese that's a very strong, uncomfortable word and we just didn't see it fitting with our son,” he said. “He's very active, he's very strong.”

While Cam continues to wrestle in elite clubs -- his mom a selectwoman in North Andover-- is working with state representatives to stop the fat letters.

“I don't think all of a sudden we have to wake-up and say the people of Massachusetts need to be told everything to do with their kids, whether it's to feed them a cupcake or to feed them broccoli,” she said.

As for Cam, he says he has the self-esteem to overlook a label, but he's more worried about his friends who might not be as strong.

“I don't like that my friends like their feelings are getting hurt,” he said.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is also sending letters home to students who are underweight.

The department says all families have the option of not having their children screened for their Body Mass Index.