Monitor student health, but don't tell parents their kids are fat

May 31, 2014, 3:04 PM GMT+0

Most people think that schools should monitor the health and fitness of their students, but draw the line at weighing them and deciding if they are overweight or not

The ongoing debate over childhood obesity took a turn for the unusual last week when it emerged that the NYC Department of Education had branded a 4'1", 66lbs girl 'overweight'. Weighing students isn't something that just occurs in New York, however, as children in 19 states are weighed in school. Last year, lawmakers in Massachusetts were considering a statewide ban on the practice, saying that public health benefits today could be outweighed by body image issues and eating disorders later in life.

The latest research from YouGov shows that, for most Americans, it is a good thing for schools to be involved in the monitoring of the health and fitness of their students. 58% say that schools should be monitoring their students, while 28% say that they shouldn't be. When asked whether schools should be weighing students and telling parents if their children are overweight, however, public attitudes flip. 57% oppose telling parents if their children are overweight, while only 31% support it.

On this issue, as with many things, there is a noticeable partisan divide. Democrats only narrowly tend to oppose (47%) rather than support (39%) schools weighing their students. Most independents (56%) also oppose it, and among Republicans the program is particularly unpopular with only 19% in favor and 74% against.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty