Texas law would track kids' body mass

Jan. 25, 2005 at 5:43 PM

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A Texas state senator, hoping to fight obesity that affects one in three children, wants schools to begin measuring and reporting students' body mass index.

The bill proposed by San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte would have schools measure each student's body mass index, or BMI, and report the finding to their parents, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram reported.

The legislation is the latest in ongoing efforts by lawmakers to fight obesity, which affects 35 percent of Texas children. In 2003, lawmakers barred candy sales, deep-fat fried foods and limited student access to vending machines. In 2001, lawmakers mandated physical education every day for elementary school students.

The move by the Texas senator follows a 2003 law in Arkansas requiring parents be given an annual BMI report, the newspaper said. Since then, similar laws have been introduced in Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana and Washington State.

In Texas, supporters said the law could reduce childhood obesity. However, critics say the bill only continues a trend of asking schools to try to settle society's problems.

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