Body Mass Index (BMI) Measurement in Schools – Safeguard 7

Safeguard 7. Do not use the actual BMI-for-age percentiles of the students as a basis for evaluating student or teacher performance (e.g., in physical education or health education class).

Many factors beyond physical education and health education courses influence a student’s weight, so it is not appropriate to hold students or teachers accountable for changes in BMI percentiles. Using BMI results to evaluate performance might heighten attention to weight and increase stigmatization and harmful weight-related behaviors.

Knowledge, skills, and changes in dietary, physical activity, and sedentary behaviors are more appropriate as performance measures.

Source: Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinold C, Thompson D, Grummer-Strawn L. Body Mass Index Measurement in Schools. Journal of School Health. 2007; 77:651-671.


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