In some states public schools have initiated an annual student weigh-in. The students’ body mass indexes are measured and the reports is sent home letting the parents know if the parents and student should be concerned about the child’s weight.

It seems that many parents are upset about this, and I can understand their concerns. This can be a very delicate issue, especially when it comes to girls. With the way that women and girls are portrayed in the media, it isn’t hard to understand why girls are susceptible to eating disorders. Everywhere they turn there is an unnaturally, unhealthy, skinny woman smeared on magazine covers. If the average size of the American woman is 14, then why is every woman on a magazine a size two?

However, I do also see the other side. This test can be one way to measure your child’s health. As parents, don’t we want to do anything we can to make sure our kids are healthy? So, why not do the test? I think sometimes as parents we can be blind to the truth when it comes to our children. If this test can gives us a truth about the health of our kids, then shouldn’t we want it done?

My children did this test last year and it was completely voluntary. A permission slip was sent home for parents to sign so their kids could participate, and the results were kept confidential and sent home in a sealed envelope. If the test is confidential and voluntary, I don’t understand why it is such a big deal for parents. Just don’t choose to participate. However, I don’t know if this test is voluntary at every school. If it is mandatory, then I could see why some parents would be against it.

I think no matter which stance you take on this, if the school’s concern is childrens’ health then they should be teaching about good nutrition and a healthy active lifestyle. They should also warn of the dangers of dieting and eating disorders.

I don’t think the purpose of this test is to discourage kids or makes kids feel bad about themselves. I think its purpose is to help parents and children know how healthy their child is, and then hopefully that will help them to decide if they need a change in their life stlye, or if they are on the right track.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of the University of Montana, animal lover and writer.