May 11 2012

Government Name-Calling

Carrie L. Lukas

Words hurt.  That’s what we parents often say, when we are trying to prevent our children from engaging in name-calling. 

It’s a message that you often hear in the media too:  Impressionable young kids tormented by their peers or who live under derogatory labels can suffer true damage as a result.  Governments convene task forces of experts to ruminate about the topic of bullying, and I just bet that labeling a kid fat or obese is considered a major offense.

So why is government getting into the name-calling and bullying business?

This article comes out of the U.K., with government health officials sending the parents of perfectly healthy kids letters to inform them that their child is "obese."  But it could just as easily be about the United States, where the government is increasingly monitoring people’s—particularly children’s—weight.  

IWF has written before about how BMI is a poor method of measuring whether someone has a healthy weight.  Yet that’s really beside the point—even if BMI was a perfectly accurate reflection of someone’s weight’s relationship with their overall health, government shouldn’t be in the business of reviewing citizens’ personal health information and passing judgment.

Does anyone seriously think that people who are over-weight don’t know that they are over-weight and that they aren’t getting enough messages from society that they would be better off thinner?  There is no need for government to pile on.

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