It is a term almost everyone understands and it doesn't need defining. The federal government along with our current President and First Lady and state lawmakers however have taken it upon themselves to govern which students in public schools are labeled within limits, obese or underweight. Like students need any more labels thrust upon them. Believe me if you are like most people I know, we already wear our own labels or ones society deems we need in order hopefully to enact some type of reform or change as if things are simply that easy to change like eat less and exercise more.
The Student Body is a documentary by Bailey Webber who takes it upon herself to find out the answers why lawmakers have taken it upon themselves to pass controversial mandates forcing schools to perform BMI tests on students. They felt these were non evasive and easy to conduct and when students fell into one of three categories, letters were generated to parents in hopes of educating them and seek help for their children if they were determined to be under weight or over weight. This launched a national debate. Coined the "fat letters" by students, notification letters were sent to kids whose body mass did not fall within a narrowly acceptable range; essentially telling children, even as young as kindergartners, that they are fat.
Maddie, a friend of Bailey's cause is the inspiration behind the documentary who received such a "fat letter" in the same envelope her report card came in. While she excelled at being a straight A student, it was the letter that drove Maddie into a deep depression when she felt less than worthy in an area where it wasn't possible for her to simply change her eating and workout habits. Even more shocked were Maddie's parents who felt the district overstepped their bounds in sending out the letters and making them feel less that worthy parents. Like that they had failed their child somehow.
Bailey takes viewers through the documentary into the bureaucrats who passed the law, one of them taking over 7 months to sit down and discuss with her why his actions in passing this bill, lead to the letters being distributed. His only response is that the one reading the letter has a responsibility to not take it as Maddie did and simply see it as a way of making better choices in their health for the future. What the lawmakers believe is that people who are obese don't want to lose the weight and need to be told. What they fail to understand is obese people know they are overweight or close to it. No one needs to be weighed and calculated whether they fall into an acceptable or unacceptable range. Interestingly enough all but 3 of the legislators were deemed to be obese based on their own BMI numbers.
The one thing science and nutritionists have determined is that it has only been in the last few years that obesity has become a global epidemic not only in the US, but other nations as well including animals used in testing and in zoos. The one thing the film provides is that further research is needed to come up with a better plan at managing obesity rather than simply telling someone to eat less and exercise more. Until then, I believe that lawmakers need to stop placing labels on kids about their weight ranges. It could push kids into eating disorders when they are told they are too fat or too thin and really cause things to spiral out of control. They aren't passing laws for the rest of the nation, why target kids? I received The Student Body compliments of Nightfly Entertainment and Edify Media Inc. This movie is currently playing in select theaters now, and will come to video early next year, but I believe it is one all parents should watch and be involved in. For me, this one rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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