NPR features Nutrition Policy Institute’s collaborative research on letters home from school on childhood obesity

Jun 13, 2024

National Public Radio's Shots health news interviewed Nutrition Policy Institute's Hannah Thompson on a 2022 study that showed that letters home from school on childhood obesity had no effect on student weight. The interview was featured in an April 9, 2024 NPR article titled “Arkansas led the nation sending letters home from school about obesity. Did it help?” Thompson is quoted, "It's such a tiny-touch behavioral intervention,” stating that parents don't know what to do with information about their child being overweight. “You find out your child is asthmatic, and you can get an inhaler, right?" Thompson said. "You find out that your child is overweight and where do you even go from there? What do you do?” Thompson and her collaborators' study findings are timely as school districts across the nation, including in California, are eliminating measurement of students' height and weight to calculate and report body mass index, commonly known as BMI, which is used as a proxy for body fat composition to assess for overweight and obesity. This is due to recent scrutiny from the American Medical Association of using BMI alone to assess obesity, given it does not consider differences across racial and ethnic groups, sex, gender and age.

By Danielle Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene D Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist
By Hannah Thompson