“Fat letters” are yet another misguided effort to address the issues of increasing obesity among children. Based on the unreliable and flawed use of body-mass-index, these letters do more harm than good.

I carried some excess energy on my body as a kid. I knew it. My mom knew it. I didn’t need an impersonal report card on my weight to tell me what I was already painfully aware of.

While there may be people that don’t know they are storing more calories than they are burning, body-mass-index and letters home are not a compassionate or helpful way to address the issue. In fact, these are the very things that begin some people’s life-long “battle” with their bodies. And, that trigger the development of life-threatening behaviors associated with anorexia and bulimia in others.

In a video accompanying the story, the mother of a highly athletic boy whose notice of “obesity” arrived this week in the mail, pointed out the irony of the letters being  sent during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week!

Fortunately, the well-adjusted boy knew better than the professionals out to mislabel him: “I know I’m not obese so I didn’t really care about the letter. I just crumpled it up.” Bravo!

The Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health defended the practice as a one component of an overall strategy to combat obesity. As I’ve stated before, waging war against fat is not a winning strategy.

If your child appears to be storing more energy than he or she is burning, seek out reliable information from experts on how to approach the subject sensitively. Don’t just assume that the extra energy is problematic.