THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL, as well as the now lapsed Common Sense Political Thought, have previously pointed out the requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that all medical records be computerized and that medical records must include a “body mass index,” or BMI calculation. As far back as 2005, your Editor noted that if the government were to become responsible for health care coverage, it would be the business of the government to exercise greater control over the individual, to reduce health care costs.
We have noted that your physician can see if you are overweight just by looking, and any physician who sees a patient — meaning: the only person who should have need to access a patient’s medical records — wouldn’t need this number as an already completed calculation. A physician might be interested in changes in a patient’s weight, but the patient’s weight would already be part of his medical records. Your Editor stated that the only reason to require a BMI calculation as a separate part of one’s medical records is to make those records computer searchable.
And now, from Massachusetts:
Tracy & Matt Watson of North Andover were sent a “fat letter” from the State of Massachusetts warning them that their son, 94-pound 10-year-old Cameron Watson, was considered obese. The fit looking 4th grader recently won a Massachusetts state wrestling championship for his weight class by pinning his opponent in under 30 seconds. But according to the Department of Public Health (DPH) standards which mandates schools collect height and weight information to calculate body mass index (BMI) as an indicator of body fat, the star athlete is unhealthy.
DPH defends its practice of using BMI as a health indicator and found that 32.3 percent of Massachusetts children fall into the overweight or obese category. DPH representative Anne Roach said, “Helping children maintain a healthy weight may prevent serious illness later in life…BMI screenings are intended to raise parents’ awareness about this issue.” However some parents object to the agency’s practice and legislators have drafted a bill that will be voted on this spring preventing DPH from collecting the student data and issuing these letters. Cameron’s father, Matt Watson said, “I think there are problems with some children and childhood obesity but I think that’s something you handle with your family and your physician…I don’t think it should be the state telling the schools to test the children.”
Video at the link.
Translation: the Massachusetts Department of Public Health used a computer to search the records! We told you so.
It’s not just liberal Massachusetts doing this. We noted previously that even in red-state Kentucky, of all places, public schools are required to record students’ body mass indices.
And now we see just what Massachusetts is doing with the information: they are being busybodies, sticking their noses into things that are just none of their business.
President Obama, in his campaign against the sequester mandated budget cuts, told us of the horrible things which would happen if funds for the federal Department of Education were cut. Public school teachers — who are paid by local schools, not the federal government — would be laid off. It seems to me that, if schools are spending money to check students’ BMI and sending out “fat letters” to students, there are other places in which spending can, and should, be cut.
We have a high dropout rate, and American public schools are having problems just teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Perhaps once the schools get better at what is supposed to be their primary job, they can start taking on other tasks. But as far as monitoring students’ weight, no, that should never be a part of their responsibilities, and should be prohibited by law.