'Fat letters' sent to students' homes cause a stir
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (WHDH) -- Schools in North Andover are trying help students dealing with obesity issues, but some families say the schools are going too far.
Cameron Watson, 10, isn't just a strong athlete; he's also a tough fourth grader who didn't let a “fat letter” sent to his home get him down.
“I know I’m not obese so I didn’t really care about the letter. I just crumpled it up,” Cam Watson said.
The letters were sent to plenty of homes throughout the Commonwealth.
The Department of Public Health says 32 percent of our students have a Body Mass Index that shows they're overweight or obese, and the letters are supposed to be a helpful tool for parents.
Cam Watson’s father says they're a waste -- they don't take into account muscle mass.
“No one wants get letter saying they’re obese. That’s a very strong, uncomfortable word, and we didn’t see if fitting with our son who is very active, he’s very strong,” said Matt Watson, Cam’s father.
While Cam Watson continues to wrestle in elite clubs, his mother -- a selectwoman in North Andover -- is working with state representatives to stop these fat letters.
“I don’t think all of a sudden we have to wake up and say that people in Massachusetts need to be told everything to do with their kids whether to feed them a cupcake or to feed them broccoli,” said State Representative Jim Lyons.
For Cam Watson, 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 my friends getting their feelings hurt,” Cam Watson said.
The 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.