Jeremy Vine, host of the aptly named British Talk Show, “Jeremy Vine,” recently tweeted:
“Should schools weigh pupils to make sure they shift the pounds they’ve put on during the lockdown?
Health experts want two weigh-ins in September and then in the spring to keep kids on track. But could this just create a generation of calorie counters? #JeremyVine”
There was almost no support for the idea among the replies, which I think shows good progress in terms of the way that we talk about children’s weight and health (which are two separate things). But the fact that it was a topic in the first place indicates that the work is not yet done.
In my latest piece for The Mighty I wrote about all the reasons why this is a completely terrible idea:
You Can Read the full piece here
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3 thoughts on “No, Schools Should Not Perform COVID Weigh-Ins”
In the distant future, the public spectator weigh-in is going to be viewed the same way the scold’s bridle is today: as something that failed to avert any bad behavior or help anybody, but was moderately successful at causing physical and psychological trauma in those who suffered it… and *very* successful at displaying the *very specific creepy hang-ups* of the people inflicting it.
They CLAIM it’s about the “health” of the children, but that’s a provable lie. If they truly cared about nutrition and fitness, they’d know that it’s no more healthy for thin kids to lie around eating junk all day than it is for fat kids. Instead of teaching ALL kids about the importance of eating healthy and working out, they target the fat kids for “intervention” and assume the thin kids are just fine.
Basically, the message is “do whatever you want, as long as you don’t get fat,” which tells me that their “mission” is far more about APPEARANCE than about anything resembling “health.”
I’m gonna say SUPER NO on weighing the kids. I recall high school weigh in day in Freshman Health Class. Everyone called up by seats to come to the front of the class and be weighed. The boys, well, doing nothing, the girls taking off watches, giggling in embarrassment as they stood on the alter of value before the jury of their peers…
Then, my name is called, the fat girl. The sound of heads snapping back to look at me, the titters, the big eyes staring at me, the whispers… All pointless, I summoned a courage I did not know I possessed (born of stultifying, sweaty terror in the moment) and asked quietly: “Can I come in after school and do it?”
The teacher was nice and said “That’s fine.” and moved on to the next kid. The room seemed to deflate bodily. I had just robbed them of what? A good show, the answer to a burning question, the chance to feel superior (more) towards me? Fuckin hilarious.
If I knew by eight, that being even slightly chubby was a totally wrong way to exist, then by fourteen, I knew it was a death sentence. I swear, I don’t know what I weighed in high school. By 1984, you know what ever it was it was too much. And so very important for your whole existence. I did come back after school, the teacher wasn’t there. I waited, conscientiously determined to keep my word, add to the uber important school fatty rolls for the government.
I wasn’t the only one who “escaped” that day. A girl I’d known since third grade, also asked to come in later. She was smaller than me, but still fat enough to know shame.
Now, when I go to the doctors office and they do the weight, BP, check in routine. I don’t even take my coat off. I step right up on that scale and let the tech record these stupid numbers. Statistics, health details, something to put on the take home sheet. I am 49 years old. I have been chubby/fat since I was eight. One time, I didn’t even put down my water bottle. Pahaha you should a seen the look on the nurses face. My BP, BS and cholesterol are all low, annoyingly low to most the nurses who see them. But even if they weren’t, so what. People get sick, live with diseases and eventually die. Welcome to life. Somewhere in the late eighties, taking care of yourself and being healthy started to mean being a whole lot of numbers that eclipsed everything else. Too high, too low, just right. And always a very low number of people are making a way hay hay lot of money controlling the value of these numbers…