Laura Cacdac was taken by surprise when her 6-year-old daughter, Charley, came home with a note concerning her weight.
Following a mandatory health screening at Palm Beach Gardens Elementary School, the nurse sent Charley home with a letter that raised flags about the girl’s health, according to WPTV.
The note read: “From the results of this test, it is suggested that your child’s health be examined by a physician, particularly as it relates to the problem suggested by the screening. A problem such as this that goes uncorrected or untreated can severely affect both the health and academic performance of your child.”
Cacdac then called the school nurse, who said that her daughter’s BMI (body mass index) was high, and that according to state standards she was considered overweight.
“It is basically – in my opinion – telling me I am harming my child and doing wrong by her, and then telling me how to properly feed my child,” Cacdac told WPTV.
Cacdac also told WPBF-25 that her daughter overheard her speaking to the nurse on the phone and later asked, “Do they think I’m fat? Is there something wrong with me?”
Recent doctor visits found Charley, who is 4’2″ and weighs 60 lbs., to be healthy and not overweight, says Laura, who adds that her daughter’s favorite foods are avocados, broccoli and apples.
She has since asked her daughter to be removed from all future health screenings.
“Something like this can stick with her for the rest of her life. It is going to stick in her head … am I fat? Do they think I’m fat?” Cacdac said.
However, the county health department said the letter was not meant to shame the child or family.
“It’s not a stigmatizing letter. We noted the BMI may be high or whatever, and it’s a recommendation to the parents,” Palm Beach County Health Department spokesman Tim O’Connor told WPBF-25.
The controversy surrounding sending BMI letters home also made headlines in 2013, leading states like Massachusetts to eliminate the practice.