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The Federal Fat Police: Bill Would Require Government to Track Body Mass of American Children

Penny Starr
CNS News [1]
Thursday, May 13, 2010

(CNSNews.com) – A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.

The bill would require states that receive federal dollars for health programs to track the Body Mass Index of children ages 2 through 18 annually through records collected by their health care providers. The legislation also requires the states to pass that data on to the Department of Health and Human Services for analysis.

The Healthy Choices Act–introduced by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee–establishes and funds a wide range of programs and regulations aimed at reducing obesity rates by such means as putting nutritional labels on the front of food products, subsidizing businesses that provide fresh fruits and vegetables, and collecting BMI measurements of patients and counseling those that are overweight or obese.

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Section 101 of the bill amends the Public Health Services Act by adding BMI as a measurement that health care professionals must assess annually on all patients and specifically for all children who are in federally funded health programs.

The providers then report the data to the state or other entity (i.e., tribal authorities or health officials in the District of Columbia), which then will give the data collected over several years to the federal government for analysis.

BMI is calculated by taking one’s weight in pounds and height in inches, multiplying that number by one’s height in inches and then multiplying that number by 703. Any number over 24 is considered overweight, with higher numbers resulting in a diagnosis of obese (BMI = [weight / (height x height)] x 703).

Full story here. [1]