My friendship with Lenore deepened over the weekend, when I received another letter in the mail, this one typed out on school district stationary and signed inexplicably in all capital letters by the nurse herself. Last month, all of the kindergartners were weighed and measured as part of the school's health and growth screening program. Lenore wanted to let me know that based on these numbers, my daughter's body mass index-for-age percentile was 88%.
While I was grateful for this information, I wasn't exactly sure what it meant. I would have scratched my head all day if Lenore hadn't been so kind as to include an explanatory paragraph in which she spelled out her specific concerns for my daughter in clear, non passive-aggressive language:
"Being either overweight or underweight can put a person at risk for certain health problems. A student who is overweight has an increased risk of developing serious conditions including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and certain cancers. A student who is underweight has an increased risk for heart problems, loss of bone mass, and anemia."
I liked the fact that Lenore had determined that my daughter was either overweight or underweight, but left it up me to guess which one. Normally, I would think that having a BMI in the 88th percentile wouldn't be a particularly good thing, but then again, if my daughter was ground beef, being in the 88th percentile would be considered quite lean.