Malaysian schools have a new rule — kids will now be graded not just according to their academic performance, but also based on their body weight. Delhi schools, too, think that’s a good idea to check obesity.
The advisory, already adopted by several schools in the United States, was introduced by the Malaysian government in view of the rising levels of child obesity.
The new rule requires the school authorities to check the fitness level of the students on the basis of body mass index. “It’s an interesting idea. Even if 10% of students and parents are affected by weight grades and try to make positive changes, the mission is accomplished,” says Manju Rana, principal Seth Anandram Jaipuria School. Usha Ram of Laxman Public school says, “It is a good idea to take BMI into consideration. It adds seriousness to the good health mission.”
Some feel it’s a necessary wake-up call for parents. “Working parents are sometimes not able to give much time to their kids, and neglect their eating habits. Every parent takes the report card seriously, so weight grades will herald a change,” says Chandani Rekhi, teacher, Delhi Public School, Dwarka.
Others think it’s an unnecessary exercise. “Schools already have many responsibilities, be it academics or extra-curricular. We conduct regular medical checkups and send the report to parents anyway,” says Madhulika Sen, principal Tagore International school.
Fat stats that raise an alarm
* The National Family Health Survey found that 20% of school-going children in India are overweight
* Last year, a survey conducted by Bangalore-based EduSports found that 25% of Indian children above 8 and 19% in the age group of 7 years and below were obese.
* A study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences reported that 17% of Indian kids aged 14-18 are overweight.
The world’s fattest kid
Jessica Gaude, a 7-year-old from Knoxville, USA, holds the title for the fattest child in the world. She weighs 222kgs and is in the first grade. Jessica has a big appetite and started excessive eating from the age of two years. Her diet consists of an intake of 10,000 calories per day. She loves to feast on white bread, coke and chips. She can have as many as 15 hamburgers a day.