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Schools increasingly check students for obesity

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (AP) -- Amid the nation's childhood obesity epidemic, schools in nearly a quarter of all states record body mass index scores, measuring hundreds of thousands of students.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District near the California-Mexico border is being touted for its methods that have resulted in motivating the community to take action with healthy programs at schools.

But the practice hasn't been embraced everywhere.

Other school districts have angered parents and eating disorder groups by conducting screenings to identify overweight children and sending home what critics call obesity report cards or “fat letters.”

Chula Vista does what is known as surveillance, in which students are measured to identify how many are at risk for weight-related health problems but they remain anonymous. Supporters say the local data has brought in help.

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