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An 11-year-old’s weight is now the talk of the country after her story aired on the “Today” show and “Good Morning America.”
Lily Grasso is a star volleyball player, and by looking at her picture you can tell she’s far from obese.
But when school started last month, Lily brought home a letter from the Collier County Health Department that included results from her health screening.
Those results labeled her body weight “at risk.”
“I was crying when my parents told me the news was going to come, and I just didn’t know what people were going to say at school,” said Lily.
Her parents labeled it a “fat letter” that destroys a child’s self-esteem.
“I don’t think anyone will look at a letter and feel better about themselves,” said Lily’s mom, Kristen Grasso.
Doctor James Thornburg is a local Naples pediatrician. He says the body mass index can easily be off for athletes like Lily, adding that parents should follow up with their primary physician.
“It’s like any other static mark, you have to go find out what it really means because just a number on a piece of paper doesn’t really explain you as a person,” said Dr. Thornburg.
The Collier County Health Department says it has conducted the screenings for years, and has never received any complaints other than this incident.
“I was surprised because we don’t really get any complaints about this program” said Dr. Joan Colfer, with the Florida Department of Health and Collier County.
The department says whether the letters are sent home with children or mailed home is up to the school itself.
Department officials add the tests do more good than bad.
“These are important things that you need to find out about children early in life so you can make those corrections if needed,” said Colfer.
When asked if the department was considering a change in light of the incident, officials firmly said no.
“Absolutely not! This is a mandated by state law,” said Colfer.
Massachusetts is one state where representatives are trying to ban those screenings. Grasso’s mother wants the same push here in Florida.
“If we can change the law and get the tests out of schools even better,” said Lily’s mom.