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California schools sending “fat letters” to warn of obesity

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Many California schools are sending “fat letters” to parents telling them their children are overweight, in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

After checking the weight of pre-schoolers in the San Fernando valley, registered dietician Lauren Schmitt is tasked with contacting the families of children who have already begun losing the battle of the bulge.

“We look at growth charts and percentiles. And when a child is at 95 per cent of their...we can look at weight for age or weight for height...that child would be considered obese,” Schmitt told KNX News.

There is no shortage of kids in the Los Angeles area whose parents end up receiving a “fat letters” as they have been dubbed by kids. Of the 900 children between the ages of two and five that she evaluates, Schmitt said approximately 200 qualify as obese.

“We let the parents know in a gentle fashion, but we also send out a tonne of handouts to try to help that family,” Schmitt said.

California is not the only state to send “fat letters” to parents. Similar obesity information is sent in 19 other states.

“It shouldn’t be a stigma. It’s not a way to categorise someone. It’s just showing that this child has increased risk to be obese as an adult, which then could lead to quite a few chronic diseases,” Schmitt was quoted by the New York Daily News as saying.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month found that childhood obesity rates edged down slightly last year, falling in 18 states.

We let the parents know in a gentle fashion, but we also send out a tonne of handouts to try to help that family

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