Calculating BMI is an important indicator of childhood health, as nearly one-third of kids in America are overweight. Helping children to know and understand what their BMI means could be a significant motivator in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, in a school setting, this must be done with caution.
Statistics have shown that obese children have an 80 percent chance of remaining obese throughout their lives. Most obese children between the ages of 5 and 17 carry at least one major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Other issues with childhood obesity are diabetes, asthma and psychological stress, and studies show that obese children are more likely than not to suffer one or more of these consequences later in life. Calculating BMI at an early age can help to identify a potential problem and begin steps to correcting it as soon as possible.
However, there is an argument to be made about keeping BMI out of schools and between a doctor and the family. Calculating BMI at school could increase psychological stress for overweight or obese students and create a potentially embarrassing situation for some. Because of this, it is important to hold testing with discretion and emphasize privacy to each of the students who are subject to the test.