Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Schools + Swimming and Weight

Talk about B.M.I. and schools.

Kim L, a reporter for the Trib, is working on a story about the new state mandate requiring parental notification of their child’s body mass index, or BMI number. What do parents think? Good information, not enough information, too much information? Are parents even aware that the figures were being reported?
CollegeSwimming.com :: View topic - Swimming and Weight It is an interesting way to look at the top swimmers, but the BMI is rarely ever used anymore, and when it is used, it's used for the general (non athletic) population.
BMI is not a measurement that I would want to hang my hat upon. It isn't that valid. I would rather go to percent body fat or a functional fitness test, such as number of pull-ups. Pull ups can be done with weight assistance as well, say from a stand with 30-pounds of assistance.

A once a year measurement isn't as good either. If done well, it should be more seasonal and more frequently. Kids grow at such different rates and different speeds that a hight and weight chart with a lot of data points would be more helpful to the kids understanding of themselves -- and that of the parents too.

Once a year benchmarks might be fine for a vision and hearing screening -- but not for real understanding of growth and development.

Putting kids on a scale for weight records is okay with me if it is part of the learning that should happen -- and not a 'contest.' A meaningless task of stepping on a scale to satisfy a state mandate is just nuts. Teacher and principals without the dedication and seriousness for the duty should just do nothing rather than provide a bad lesson for the students.

The numbers of one person should not be ranked against that of another. Rather, the points on the chart of the same kid over time is where the real value resides.

This should all be part of a decent course of study for phyical education. I feel that physical education should be part of the school day. We've ignored PE on many instances. Beefing up PE programs (pun intended) is fine with me.

However, we've really got to use athletics and additional after-school activities, beyond school, for our kids and their health.

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