DD increasingly worried about the weighing/measuring taking place

(23 Posts)
jennieflower Thu 10-Oct-13 22:40:26

I have 2 children in primary school, DD age 10 in year 6 and DS in reception, we've recently had a letter from the local authority stating they will be weighing and measuring children in yr6 and reception. I remember this from years back when DD first started school and there were no issues.

DD is tall and very slim, she does look different to a lot of girls in her year because quite a few of them are developing breasts and are carrying a lot more fat than her. She's always been very slim but is very active and eats healthily, her ribs are visible but she's not bony but we do struggle to find her clothes that fit, I tend to buy her slim fit trousers as the regular ones look like clown trousers and she wears an age 8 with the adjustable waist pulled in on skirts, I put this down to the changing shape of children more than her own body shape as I was exactly the same at her age. It's probably genetics as when I was a teenager I was on a weight gain programme through the GP, weekly weigh-ins and had to drink this horrible orangey stuff daily to help me gain weight etc.

I am overweight, by quite a lot, I never diet, probably should do but I remember being literally forced to sit at the dinner table until I'd finished a meal and that has carried over into adulthood. I never push my own weight concerns onto my DD and never force her to eat when she doesn't want to, she eats really well anyway, as an example she had 2 extra helpings of home made soup at 5 this evening and she still had room for a bowl of porridge and some fruit at 7pm.

Tonight at bedtime she's admitted that she's really worried about being weighed at school, is she going to be declared underweight? Are we going to get a letter home about her weight? She said that a lot of the girls at school have made fun of her because she doesn't have "shapely thighs" and "had nothing to put in a bra yet" FFS she's 10! This is all a bit alien to me, a few of my friends have received letters following previous weigh ins regarding their children being overweight when their children look really healthy and have excellent diets. DD has told me that she'd like to opt out of the weighing procedure because she's worried that they'll say she's underweight and will think there's something wrong with her.

I'm constantly reassuring her that she's perfect, not too fat, not too thin, she'll get boobs when she's a few years older etc but it's awful to see her reduced to tears and worrying that her friends will see her bringing home a letter about her weight when I know theres nothing wrong. Should I just call and opt out for her sake or is it important that she's included in the "averages"?

Sorry this is so long, didn't want to drip feed.

Tiggles Thu 10-Oct-13 22:45:39

Do you know her height and weight? Could you surreptiously check it out on a BMI chart. DS1 is the skinniest thing, really weedy looking, just after he grows he drops to 'underweight' on their charts, but is usually just on the boundary. It doesn't matter how much crap he eats he is just skinny.
If they are weighed with clothes on if she is really worried, could she have something heavy in her pockets?

Can't believe kids are picked on for being thin sad

gintastic Thu 10-Oct-13 22:45:55

You could ask the school, but our letters came in the post, not from te school - so no one would see?

PedlarsSpanner Thu 10-Oct-13 22:49:05

ok

the letter will be sent from the local NHS board, they use school as a means to gather as many children as possible for the survey, so no worries for her there; school merely provide a room for the process to take place

the making fun of her body shape is a bullying scenario and I would be thinking of contacting school to raise concerns that way

the actual measuring, well, you know what? making her anxious, opt her out. That's what I would do.

In the meantime, stick her on the scales, see if you can get her height say in a BHS store (or similar, lots have height charts in the childrenswear dept), pop them into the NHS calculator thingie. Just to check.

Springcleanish Thu 10-Oct-13 22:50:39

Opt her out. Get the GP to check her if you have any concerns. There is absolutely no need for her to be weighed and measured at school if you think there is any chance of any repercussions. The children will discuss it after and will compare weights - they are children and it's something unusual. Don't force her to be part of it.

libertychick Thu 10-Oct-13 22:52:41

The letters should be posted out - call the number on the letter and ask them. TBH very few children are opted out (l am involved in this programme) so she might stand out more if she isn't weighed.

We recently had a letter home about this for dd1 and I opted out. She's a bit overweight atm, it's mostly puppy fat and she's starting to develop, hips, waist, breasts. She's very conscious of her weight and I didn't want to put her through being weighed in front of people. I'd opt her out if I was you.

UniS Thu 10-Oct-13 22:56:03

we opted out of being told anything after the weighing and measuring in year R. I believe he was measured, I have no objection to that data being part of a big picture of childhood measurements , but we didn;t need a letter home telling us how tall he is, we know and I can stand him on the bathroom scales if I wish too ( and can find them under the dust bunnies in the airing cupboard.)

seekingadvice6 Thu 10-Oct-13 22:59:13

I have a daughter with growth issues in Reception and will be asking for her to be excluded. She's already becoming aware of her height compared with her peers and is regularly weighed and measured by the clinic at the hospital. I don't want her to worry more.

I feel for your daughter. I, like my own mother, didn't start puberty till my late teens. It was no fun being skinny and flat chested at 14 when everyone else had boobs and boyfriends. I'd opt her out of it.

jennieflower Thu 10-Oct-13 23:20:17

I've no idea of her weight, we don't have scales in this house because I don't think they're important. At a guess I'd say she is around 145cm tall and 4 and a bit stone in weight? I only say this because last month we went to a go ape activity in the woods and we saw a boy of a similar age and size to her in floods of tears because he wasn't allowed on the segways because he wasn't heavy enough, they'd booked him in as a 10 year old and was surprised that even though he was old enough he wasn't heavy enough to control a Segway, I think they had a 6 stone guideline, At the time I remarked that a 6 stone 10 year old wouldn't be a healthy 10 year old but didn't make much of an issue of it because it didn't concern us. Is a 6stone 10 year old normal?

I think I'll just opt out of the weigh in, I'm actually really proud of DD because she's so healthy and active (and bloody perfect) but daren't congratulate her on it in case she makes comments to her friends at school in her defence and it gets taken badly.

DD is worried that if we opt out it'll be flagged and noted that she's underweight and we're trying to hide it. Hmmm, maybe a chat with the head teacher is in order?

gleegeek Thu 10-Oct-13 23:35:48

We've just opted out for dd (10) mainly because she found the idea of being weighed by strangers quite distressing. As far as I am concerned, she seems pretty spot on for her age - wears 11-12 clothes for height, but always with elasticated waists as she needs to cinch them in a bit alot . She has bags of energy, eats reasonably well. She does have hang ups about the size of her thighs however; her best friend is extremely thin, whereas dd does have curvy thighs. It's a minefield this weight business sad.

3monkeys Thu 10-Oct-13 23:46:08

We opted out in year 6 because DD would have been recorded as overweight and she was embarassed and we didn't need school to tell us that! Opt out if you're concerned, she won't be the only one

Foreverweeding Fri 11-Oct-13 09:55:39

I have never agreed to this scheme and opted out for my two. In my opinion it is a private matter, between the child's GP and the parents. I believe it is just another piece of information they have on our children and it simply is no-one else's business. I simply ticked the box on the form to confirm that I did not give my permission. There were no questions asked or repercussions.

OldBeanbagz Fri 11-Oct-13 10:59:15

I would opt out in your case and not put your DD through the whole experience.

My own DD would be reluctant to be weighed by at school and she's normal a weight for her age. Kids vary so much at this age in terms of development that i don't think it helps to compare them against each other at school like this.

Personally i think that this check-up should be done out of school. Maybe make it part of the HV's remit.

My DS would like your DD, be off the bottom of the scale (as his dad was i met him) but i know that he's healthy and eats a well balance diet. He's just super light!

gamerchick Fri 11-Oct-13 11:02:38

I agree, just opt out. I had to ring a number to opt out for mine. not a chance in hell my kids were going to be weighed and measured. I'm not even going to start on my opinion fingerprinting thing.

pointythings Fri 11-Oct-13 11:11:06

I'd opt out - I didn't for DD2 who is also 10, but that's because I know how tall she is, how much she weighs and what centile she's on, and I've told her. (She's at the low end of the normal range) Your DD sounds like she has enough to deal with already what with the bullying about her shape though, so don't put her through it.

I still remember how worried DD1 was that she'd be found overweight (she wasn't and I knew that) - she was the opposite of DD2, very tall and an early developer, but again, of normal weight. To make it worse, they didn't send out the results for the 'normal' kids until about 6 months later!

Can't believe they need to be 6 stone for Segways, even DD1 wasn't that at age 10!

insanityscratching Fri 11-Oct-13 12:20:53

My dd will be off the bottom of the scale for height and weight too. I will let her make a choice as to whether she is weighed or not, she is already well aware that she is smaller than all of her class and more the size of a seven year old so I'm not convinced she needs this reinforcing. For dd genetics play a huge role as barely any females in our family are taller than five foot, dietary advice (she eats like a mouse) isn't going to make any difference to how tall an adult she will eventually be.

PastSellByDate Fri 11-Oct-13 13:06:52

Hi jennieflower:

haven't read it all but this is how we've handled this situation:

My DD1 is going to be weighed and measured soon too (we also got a letter home) and DD1 is a bean pole & very petite (my younger daughter is taller). She was objecting to this weighing/ measuring (I think mainly because many girls in her class are - not sure why really) so...

We've really played up that this is her chance to contribute to science.

Way back when she was a baby they carefully measured her length & weight at birth and at several points in her first year (and that info is nationally collected). What they're doing by checking you now at age 10/11 is working out if the current theory about rate of growth is in fact accurate.

(We got out her 'red book' medical record and showed her the charts and predicted height as adult bit)

So by measuring you (your own wonderful body height & weight) you're helping to make it o.k. to look exactly like you (a real live person) for thousands of girls and boys in the future.

DD just looked at me like I was totally mad - but said she was willing to do her bit for science.

HTH

Periwinkle007 Fri 11-Oct-13 13:26:19

pastsellbydate - that is a brilliant way of approaching it. I will remember that for when mine are that age (R and Yr1 here)

I remember we were weighed and measured at school but it was done in the sick room individually so the only people there were the child and the nurse, no other children (we were also made to undress to vest and pants which I am sure they don't insist on now). I didn't take much notice with the reception ones, just had the letter about DD2s taking place soon but by yr6 I would probably ask the school if they would be doing it in this way, so the child is the only child present. then noone else will have any idea what their results are and as has been said the letters are sent separately.

I have never actually heard of anyone coming out as underweight on it, my DD1 is very skinny but also exceptionally tall (needs clothes 3 years above her age for length) and she came out as slap bang in the middle for BMI. DD2 is equally skinny but shorter (and much younger in the year so will be younger when measured). Do they actually send letters for lower BMIs? I thought it was only for the very high ones.

I can see it being of concern to particularly girls nowadays, especially as so many seem to start puberty younger than when we were kids and with the global pressure of body image etc it must be stressful for them. I would probably request the school are very sensitive about it from the point of view of the kids, even if it means they talk to the girls separately about how some of them are starting to change shape and that their bodies will settle down naturally in a few years, like the whole thing of their waists often thicken before they grow upwards and so on and I would request that the actual process is conducted in private on an individual basis.

PiqueABoo Fri 11-Oct-13 14:18:03

@Periwinkle007 I think they're a few steps ahead of you. We got a standard letter which is essentially the sample from the current NCMP kit:

The measurements will be supervised by trained healthcare professionals. Children are fully dressed except for their coats and shoes and the measurements will be done in a private area away from other pupils.

No child’s height or weight measurements will be given to school staff or other children. These data will also be submitted for national analysis and publication, in a way that means individual children cannot be directly identified. All information and results will be treated confidentially.

They are encouraged, might even have to send (confidential) letters to everyone (underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obese).

I believe Underweight was 1.3% last year and the sample letter for that says:

Many underweight children are perfectly healthy, but some can develop health problems.
--

Y6 DD did a little half-hearted protest and talked about expecting to be too heavy which was really frustrating because she's a very sporty child and definitely 'just right'. There are of course several very skinny girls in her class.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 11-Oct-13 21:40:50

My friends dd sounds very similar. She is under a Paed for asthma. When my friend queried her weight and height with him, he laughed and said its not her you have have to worry about, it's all the overweight kids that you are comparing her with.

I was underweight in my first weigh in at school at again at 16 and still probably am. Some people are just built that way and no HCP has every raised a concern about it.

Agree with others, picking on her body shape is bullying so you may want to speak to the school about that and if the thought of being weighed is bothering her, just opt out.

jennieflower Tue 15-Oct-13 22:16:34

Well we did it, we opted out, I emailed the school to give our reasons then was given a number to call the local health authority, I called them and said that we wished to opt out, wasn't asked for a reason and left it at that. The weigh in took place yesterday and DD was the only child to be excluded, the letter said that they wouldn't make children take part if they didn't want to but DD said that I was the only parent that asked for their child to be excluded, apparently lots of other children said they didn't want to be weighed but they were still weighed and measured because their parents hadn't specifically objected. I feel a bit hmm at this but my DD feels a lot happier and that's all that matters to me.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 15-Oct-13 22:35:03

The children might not have vocalised their thought to their parents though.

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