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NYC Mom Upset After Daughter is labeled Overweight by Education Department

Update Date: May 26, 2014 10:05 AM EDT
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In New York City, there have been several programs and initiatives created to help combat childhood obesity. Over the past few years, school lunches and gym classes were modified to encourage healthy eating and good physical activity. Even though these programs are meant to be helpful, a mother was outraged after her nine-year-old daughter was called overweight.

According to Laura Bruji Williams, her daughter who stands at four feet-one inches and weighs 66 pounds came home with a letter stating that the young girl is overweight. The letter was a part of the New York City Department of Education's yearly fitness program called "Fitnessgram." Based on the program's standards, the girl, Gwendolyn Williams, was just one pound above the average weight for her height and age.

Gwendolyn read the letter before handing it over to her mother even though the program clearly states that children should not read the results. When Laura found out, she stated that the program wrongfully labeled her daughter and believes that these labels could be harmful to children who are supposed to be learning about good body image.

"She said 'Mom, school told me that I'm overweight,'" Laura said reported by NBC New York. "I was very angry and upset because I don't want this to be the kind of thing that sticks with her."

She added, according to HuffPost, "My daughter is thin; she knows she doesn't have a weight problem, but that night, I caught her grabbing the skin near her waist, and she asked me, 'is this what they were talking about? It was awful to see. Some of her friends found out they were obese. ... They were crying."

Roughly 870,000 students attending New York City public schools between kindergarten and 12th grade receive Fitnessgram assessments.

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