Florida school sends letter home calling this girl fat

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Officials from the Collier County Health Department sent a note home with an 11-year-old girl in Naples, Fla. informing her mother that the girl is fat.

The note referenced a health screening that all public schools in Florida are required to perform, reports local Fox affiliate WFTX. The health screening includes a measurement of each child’s body mass index (BMI).

The girl, Lily, is 5’5″ tall and weighs in at 124 pounds. She’s also the tallest girl in her class.

However, Kristen Grasso, the girl’s mother, told WFTX that the Florida Department of Health website “classifies her as overweight.”

Grasso, a mother of four who looks pretty slim and fit, wasn’t pleased.

“Lily is tall,” Grasso said in her daughter’s defense. “She’s athletic. She’s solid muscle. But by no means is she overweight.”

Grasso said she is uneasy about the message a healthy-looking 11-year-old girl might discern from the results.

“My concern is you know, kids that see the results of this test that may be classified as overweight that aren’t and the self-esteem issues that they may get,” Grasso said.

The Fox affiliate paid a visit to the county health department for more information.

“All health departments in the state do screenings for school-aged children.” explained Deb Millsap, a spokeswoman for the Collier County Health Department. “Now, parents can opt out.”

The opt-out process is part of thickly-worded form.

Grasso said she did receive the form. However, she said it merely indicated that children would be tested for vision hearing, growth and development screening. The mom didn’t realize that weight or BMI would be part of the testing regime.

It’s possible that either Grasso, or the Florida Department of Health, or the person who measured Lily’s BMI made a mistake. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a healthy 11-year-old human female who is 5’5″ tall and weighs 124 pounds “has a healthy weight.”

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Eric Owens