• I read recently that Michelle Obama wants parents to start tracking our kids Body Mass Index (BMI). I completely respect our First Lady, and think her focus on childhood obesity is admirable. However, I worry about this request.

    I think it is our responsibility as parents to offer our kids healthy foods, to ensure they don’t eat junk food all day, and that they get their recommended amount of exercise. All that being said, I refuse to weigh my kids. My daughter especially. They get weighed at their well checkups, and their pediatricians would tell me if there was an issue.

    If I focus on keeping track of their BMI or weight it will become something that they focus on too. And what little girl (or boy) needs to worry about that? There are plenty of outside pressures that will make her worry about her appearance and weight later on in life, why should we start it earlier? Would it send the message to her that I don’t think she is healthy or pretty at this age? She is a child, and I believe that she does not need to even think about such things.

    Instead she can focus on learning to read, or how to compromise and make friends. I can’t imagine taking away the time she could spend mastering hopscotch to check her weight and BMI. Not to mention that I do not have the equipment to properly measure this.

    BMI can be estimated with height and weight, but it is not exact. Calculating your BMI at home doesn’t differentiate between muscle and body fat or even bone density. Instead I say we continue helping our kids to put down the video games and play a game of soccer. Offer them water instead of juice or soda, apples instead of chips.