Weight Reports

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A state legislator who introduced a bill requiring that schoolchildren be weighed twice a year and their body mass listed on report cards has dropped the idea because of opposition.

Representative Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, an Atlanta Democrat, said Thursday she has, "heard from people loud and clear."

She says her office received angry telephone calls and e-mails after she introduced the bill Wenesday in an attempt to reduce childhood obesity in Georgia.

Benfield's legislation would have required public schools to weigh students, calculate their body mass, a measure of weight in proportion to height, and list it on report cards.

Parents of heavier students would have been given literature on diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses.

Benfield says she will not formally withdraw the bill but that she will not pursue it.

She says the most legitimate complaints about the bill involved concern about potential harm to students' self-esteem. Benfield says that was never her intent.

The Georgia School Superintendents Association opposed the idea from the start.

On the Net:Read House Bill 497: http://www.legis.state.ga.us

February 17, 2005