Michigan to Track Children’s Weight

Published October 11, 2011

Citing an obesity “epidemic,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) announced a plan to track children’s body-mass index through the state’s immunization registry. Pediatricians will measure their patients’ height and weight and enter the ratio between them, known as BMI, into the Michigan Care Improvement Registry.

The system will not connect specific children to their BMI by name or Social Security number, the governor’s office said, but will be used to spark discussion about obesity between parents, children, and doctors. Twelve percent of Michigan children are considered obese or overweight, as are two-thirds of Michigan adults.

“In telling us that we are fat and out of shape, Snyder is stating the obvious,” editorialized The Detroit News. “We appreciate that he wants us to eat better and exercise more … [b]ut we hope he resists the urge to force us into smaller pants with intrusive policies from the state.”

Proponents say the mandate will cut health costs by targeting obesity, a contributor to many health problems. The state will also allow the parks department to ban tobacco use in all state parks and beaches, and will seek federal funding for health and dental centers serving poor residents.

—Staff Reports

Image by Kyle May.