The state of Massachusetts thinks 10-year-old Cameron Watson is fat, and they sent a letter to his family letting them know.
The multi-sport athlete and wrestling champion is roughly 94 pounds, but his school said in a letter that based on his BMI, the child is overweight.
“I wrestle, play football, baseball, I ride bikes, play basketball, baseball, MMA,” Cameron objected. “I know I’m not obese so I don’t really care about the letter…I just crumpled it up.”
Massachusetts public schools began sending out “fat letters” in 2010 as part of a push to fight childhood obesity, according to the New York Daily News, but people are beginning to grow frustrated.
Matt Watson, Cameron’s father, remarked: “No one wants get a letter being told they are obese…That’s a very strong, uncomfortable word and we just didn’t see it fitting with our son. He’s very active, he’s very strong.”
Jim Lyons, a member of the state general court, agreed in an email to the New York Daily News: “I think [the BMI letters] are an overreaching by the Department of Public Health…I’ve had numerous complaints from parents considering the impact ot has on children being ostracized for being too thin or too fat. Parents are really concerned.”
Even Yahoo’s Odd News noted: “If another student called Cameron fat, they’d get in trouble. The state calls him fat? No problem.”
The Department of Public Health seems to be defending the letters, though, pointing out that they are also sent to the families of underweight students.
“Helping children maintain a healthy weight may prevent serious illness later in life,” spokeswoman Anne Roach said. “BMI screenings are intended to raise parents’ awareness about this issue.”
KSHB-TV/41 Action News has more on the story:
Cameron’s mother said she just “laughed” at the letter, adding that since Cameron was born premature, every “ounce” he’s gained has seemed like a “victory.”
A selectwoman in North Andover, Cameron’s mother is reportedly working with lawmakers to pass a bill saying: “No language … shall authorize the Department of Public Health to collect data on height, weight, or calculate a student’s Body Mass Index.”
Cameron says he’ll be fine either way, but added: “I don’t like my friends getting their feelings hurt.”