The Student Body (2016) Movie Script

The bill proposes to measure
body mass index, BMI...
That's what
we're doing here today,
address the core
problems we face.
And this is
a great move forward,
so I support the bill.
It's not like
I don't respect authority,
or believe in our government,
or trust the adults
who are in charge of us.
We do hearing the objection
title that was agreed to.
It's just that...
Well, the past year
has changed the way
I understand the world.
Just one year ago,
I was a junior in high school,
worrying about
doing my homework,
looking forward to getting
my driver's license,
and doing my best to fit in
and make friends.
And now, here I am
in the middle
of a national controversy,
in the personal debate
with our public officials,
all over the simplest thing
in the world,
a number.
But this isn't just any number.
This number is special.
To get it, you take one number,
divide it by another
which has been squared,
and then multiply that
by seven hundred and three.
The resulting number is, well,
This one number tells a story,
a story about your past
and even predicts your future.
Obviously, a number
that holds this much power
would be valuable.
And this one is.
So much so that some people
try to keep their number secret
for fear of what it might tell,
while others don't believe
in the number at all.
Then there are those,
even in our own government,
who believe in the
number's power so much
that they fight
to gain access to yours,
using the number
to determine whether or not
you are acceptable.
Yes, acceptable.
Not my words.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Maybe I should back up,
you know, to the beginning.
Or at least my beginning
and to what brought me
to this point,
fighting over a simple number.
- Dum, dum, dum...
- Looking back,
I kind of feel bad for what
I put my parents through.
That's good, Bailey.
You having fun?
Apparently, I wasn't a pleaser.
When asked a question,
I would just grunt.
I hated costumes
and school plays,
despised being paraded around
and refused to perform
for anyone.
That's me right there
at my first public protest
at age four.
Hugs were out of the question.
No smiling for pictures.
Yeah, here's an Easter
smile for you.
Some friends even gave
my parents a book
called the strong-
willed child.
I guess, it was supposed
to teach them
how to deal with me
or something.
This is where I live,
a small, historic town in Ohio.
After school, we can walk
down main street,
pass the old garage,
pass the church on the corner,
and hang out
at the ice cream parlor,
which is right across the street
from the gun shop.
Yup, it doesn't get
any more American
than this.
And this is my high school,
where I was taught that we have
the greatest government
in the world.
This is also where I learned to,
well, behave.
Remember that
strong-willed child
who was always making a fuss?
She eventually became
the soft-spoken, polite kid
that barely anyone notices.
I pretty much keep to myself,
stay out of trouble,
and never, ever
question authority.
That is until last year
when a bunch of us students
decided to stage a protest.
There was friction
between the new school board
and our principal,
so the board decided
to promote him
right out of his job.
But us students
weren't having it.
Our top story today.
High school students
dressed in black
storm the school board meeting
in which their beloved
principal was voted out
and removed from his position.
This was the first time
that I've ever held
a protest sign
or chanted on a public official.
Principal and instead...
I had my first
taste of democracy
and it tasted great.
Are more likely
to succeed in this group...
In the end,
the board backed down
and our principal kept his job.
It was then that I realized
that even kids
have a powerful voice,
and I think
I was finding mine again.
When asked,
school officials did admit
that the outpouring
of support had an effect
on the decision made tonight.
Reporting live in Springboro,
Holly Samuels, 2 news.
This feeling of empowerment
must have been contagious
because a month later,
at another school board meeting,
a sixth-grader named Maddie
bravely addressed
the board all alone.
But this time,
it was about something
more disturbing.
I also received a letter
from the school nurse
addressed to me.
As I read the letter,
I was crushed,
discovered the school
is telling me
that was not the healthy way.
Apparently, the school
district have been performing
body mass index test
on our students
and then sent letters
out to kids
whose number didn't fall
within an acceptable range.
I felt betrayed by the school
because I could fit
in to the school's idea
of what a kid should be.
Schools always supposed
to be a safe place,
somewhere I could feel accepted,
proud of my accomplishments,
and not put down.
I'm active in sports
and have a healthy...
This girl was inspirational.
The board promptly apologized
for the mistake
and the moment was just magical.
And while Maddie got the apology
she was looking for,
it made me wonder.
Was this really a mistake?
I mean, this letter
didn't mail itself.
And how many other students
got these letters?
Was that a mistake, too?
Do they get apologies?
To everyone else,
it seemed like the issue
had been resolved,
but this only raised
more questions for me.
Carrots, bell peppers,
these are tomatoes over here.
And over here, we've got
some asparagus starting,
which is our favorite vegetable.
Back there is cucumbers.
Which is my favorite vegetable.
And we've got some
herbs back there.
And we're trying to do this
without any chemicals
or any fillers,
just water and sun.
- That's it.
- No bug spray.
- No bug spray, no nothing.
- No fertilizer.
As you may know, I'm a chef
and she's in the food
business as well,
so we're both pretty
knowledgeable of nutrition
and this was kind of an idea
I've been wanting to have
in my own yard,
but also something
that we had talked about
with the school board.
Maybe doing a garden,
have the students
in summertime co-op
and have their own vegetables
for their salad bar
at school, you know.
Teach children something
that they can take away,
and carry within the rest...
Because it tastes so much better
when you know
you've done the work
to get it there, so, um...
It's amazing to think
that a family like this
received a notice
about health and nutrition.
Later that day,
Maddie told me
about her own struggles.
Um, uh, my condition
is human growth
hormone disorder.
Uh, that means I can't
grow like a normal child
and I can't lose weight, so...
And I can't grow teeth
and I'm very slow
and, like, that whole process.
In spite of her condition,
Maddie was getting along
just fine at school,
until one day in gym class.
Nurses, I guess from the state,
came and weighed us
and measured us
and it really
made me uncomfortable
because there's another child
in there too with you.
So I mean, it just, like,
really made me feel awkward
and I really didn't wanna do it.
Did they give you a choice?
No, they made us do it.
What Maddie didn't realize
is that the district
was actually grading students
on something more
than just academics.
And here was my report card.
Then I found this letter
or what's left of it anyways.
And it basically says
that, you know,
I'm high in my weight
and I ripped it up
and I threw it in the trashcan.
She got the mail that day
and opened up her report card
with great anticipation
of receiving money
from her good grades
and she didn't wanna talk to me,
so she ran to her room
and locked herself upstairs,
so then I went
to the garbage can
and found that she had shredded
part of what came in the mail
and it was the letter
from the district.
My mom found it
and pieced all the pieces
that she could find together.
But obviously,
not the letter was found.
I felt like I wasn't accepted
in the society, basically.
I could never think about
anything else at that time.
I could always think
about how I'm a disappointment
to everyone.
The children
that received that letter,
they'll remember that
the rest of their lives.
They will remember, um,
how nice or sweet the school
tried to make it sound.
They'll remember
that the school said,
"you don't fit in.
"You are different.
"You are not acceptable
at what you're doing now
and that something
needs to change."
So essentially,
if they received it
for being underweight,
they're too skinny.
If they received it
for being overweight,
the school is essentially
saying, "you're too fat."
Um, those are words
and that's a moment and time
that these children
will never forget,
um, and that is a shame.
So, in life, you hold on
to those things.
And so, it's hard
when it's your kid.
At the time,
I was really mad at the nurse
because her name was signed.
But then, the nurse
met with my mom
and she told, um, her
that she had to send it
and she didn't have a choice to,
so I just felt
really sorry for her
and I wished that that never
happened to her either
because I mean, how much pain
that put her through,
and it's something
she deserved for that.
Nobody seemed to know
where the letter started,
why it went out in the mail.
I mean, how does
a letter like this go out
and no one know about it?
It just isn't possible.
Well, someone has to know
where these letters came from,
so I setup an appointment
with one of our school
board members
who also happens to be
a nutritionist,
college professor,
and doctor.
I'm a dietitian
whose private practice
is centered around
weight management
and eating disorders.
So, I was absolutely alarmed
that that went out
because you can't talk
to kids that way.
That's the whole wrong approach.
I was glad to hear
that someone else
thought that these letters
were a bad idea,
but I wanted to know
who was responsible,
so I went to the president
of the school board.
I don't think anybody
may have known
about it until that night
that she came and spoke.
The way those letters
are generated
is a state of Ohio
mandates that every school
conducting every child a BMI
or a, uh, body mass index
to, uh, to see where they fall.
This is sounding more sinister
than I thought.
State lawmakers
are forcing our schools
to do BMI testing on us
to determine our health?
Is that BMI
is an indicator of something,
but is it the most important
piece of information
about that student's health?
It's not even in the top five.
So I'd say
it's really not a value.
Well, that's good to hear
because lots of students
feel the same way.
But we're still forced
to step up on the scales,
so I decided to bring
my own scale
and mandate a BMI test
for every adult
that I interview.
Your height.
My height?
Uh-oh. I'm five-six.
I already know what mine is.
It used to be 19.
Can I use that one?
Not surprisingly,
she didn't go for it.
No, not after age 30,
I wouldn't.
I mean, kids
that too, wouldn't they?
No, no. I agree. I agree.
It would've been,
you know, as a teenager,
it would've been
very private for me, too.
I would not have appreciated it.
I was told that kids
were weighed in gym class
and they weren't given a choice.
Would it surprise you
that many of these kids
felt uncomfortable about this?
Well, sure.
I mean, nobody likes to be,
uh, tested, put on the spot.
But I think people
need to understand
where they fall on the scale
and how they're doing as related
to the rest of the population.
Well, I'm glad you say that
because I'm doing
my own BMI test.
Uh, would you mind stepping
on the scale for me?
Um, oh, boy.
I probably...
I probably should,
but I prefer not to.
Apparently, I don't have
the same mandate power
that the state has.
To be given a choice,
would you like that?
You're good.
As it turns out,
the board president was right.
Two years ago, state lawmakers
introduced senate bill 210,
which mostly
addressed improvements
and diet and exercise
in our schools.
Our healthy choices
for healthy children website.
And with a name like
healthy choices for healthy
children's act,
it would be political suicide
to vote against it.
Maybe that's how
this one little
controversial item
made its way into the bill.
The bill proposes to measure
body mass index, BMI,
on school entry
in grades k3, 5, and 9.
And that's when the discussion
got interesting.
To say that our schools
are gonna body mass index
little kindergarten students
and third graders.
Taking people's
body mass indexes,
I personally
find that offensive.
This is a national
security crisis
for the United States.
Make our people better,
thinner, stronger
so we can wage wars
and fight the battles
that need to be fought.
If you pick up an apple
and you eat it,
you know, their hunger
may go away.
Give me Liberty, give me death.
Two hundred thirty years ago
the English,
now it's about a twinkie.
You must have went swimming
over the holiday weekend
and hit your head
on the diving board.
When I was in the marine corps,
you get your rear end kicked
if you're not in shape.
It's kind of like
boiling a frog.
Slowly up the temperature
five or ten degrees
until the flesh
falls off the frog.
Or you stand
and fill sand buckets
until you lose 20 pounds.
Maybe mom and dad
ought to take these folks...
Okay. Wait.
Everybody calm down.
What is BMI anyway?
BMI was created
back in the early 1800s
by a Belgian researcher
named Quetelet,
and he was a man
of many interests.
He was a mathematician,
he was an astronomer,
and he did some work, um,
analyzing body measurements
and he came up
with a calculation,
weight over height squared.
It's calculated
using kilograms for weight
and meters for height.
In the United States, however,
we typically record measures
in pounds and in inches.
Um, as a result,
there's a simple calculation
that can be used and that's, um,
weight over height squared
times 703.
And the result is a...
Is an index
which we call body mass index
which is an indicator
of linearity or thickness.
I'm Dr. Stefan Czerwinski,
I'm the director
of the Fels longitudinal study
which is the longest
running study
of growth development and aging
in the world.
Uh, the study has been
around since 1929
and we continue to collect
body composition data
on children
over their lifespan.
So we use BMI
as an indicator of obesity
or what we often call adiposity.
We also use other measures
that describe that even better
in adults.
We know that
their issues with BMI
just in regard to athletes.
And children in particular, uh,
growth in boys over adolescence,
um, what you're gonna see
is higher BMls
due to muscle,
not because of fat.
And I think most researchers
agree with the fact
that BMI is not
a perfect measure
because it's easy,
it's relatively cheap,
um, it's used probably more
than it necessarily should be.
Why then are lawmakers
putting so much emphasis on BMI,
especially with children?
To find out more,
I visited Claire Mysko
who's dedicated her life's work
to studying and solving issues
of health, weight, and eating.
At the national
eating disorders association,
we really believe
in educating kids about health,
but to do it in a way
that focuses on health,
um, and holistically
and this idea
that kids should be fixated
on a particular number, uh,
to define their health
is incredibly problematic.
Um, so for the state to come in
and say,
"this is the measure of health
that we're going to apply,"
um, it's an inaccurate measure
of health for one thing,
um, and it's totally based
on a number, you know.
So for kids who are
already struggling
with low self-esteem,
poor body image, which she...
We know poor body image
is a huge problem
for many, many kids,
um, you know,
we find this potentially
very dangerous.
And this is the way
we ought to be doing it.
It's an important thing
for our kids.
It teaches them life lessons
and I think it's very rare.
All of us will get together
and come up
with a consensus bill
that's as good as this one
and I hope you all
will be willing to support it
because it's good stuff.
This whole conversation
is going to lead
to something very beneficial,
but I think the most
important thing
is that children
will have the knowledge.
I think we've done
good work here today
for the citizens of Ohio
and for the children of Ohio.
I am all for educating
kids about health,
but let's do it in a way
that makes sense,
that is not fear-based,
that is not going to lead
to shaming and bullying.
Um, it's so critical
that our government
actually develops policies
that are based
on good information.
Yes, I'm going to vote
for this bill,
but what I would like to say
is as we look at the obesity
problem in the future,
let's bring some
professionals in
who've spent their lives
in the research in this area
to give us some advice.
Thank you.
It's incredibly frustrating
that these decisions
are being made
at a government level,
um, without any input
from experts
who actually have
the knowledge, um,
and who are saying again,
and again, and again
that BMI is not an accurate
measure of health.
The question is,
shall the title be agreed to?
Representative Kearney
moves to amend the title.
If you wish to add
your name to the title,
please do so at this time.
Without objection,
the title would be agreed to.
Hearing no objection,
the title is agreed to.
So with everyone
that I interview,
I'm doing my own BMI test.
And so I ask them,
"would you like
to get on the scale?"
I have my scale right here.
Would you be willing
to participate
in my BMI test?
You know what,
I would not be willing
to participate in your BMI test
and I'll tell you why.
I haven't known my weight
in, hmm,
probably close to 20 years now.
And not knowing my weight
has been one of the healthiest
things for me,
um, because at a certain
point in my life,
I was obsessed with this number
and it made me very sick
and very unhappy.
And to be able to live my life
and feel healthy,
I go to the doctor, you know,
I get all the tests
that I need to get done,
um, you know, I am not...
I don't live in fear
of this number,
but not knowing it
has made me
a much happier person.
Well, if not knowing your weight
could make you a happier person,
then our lawmakers are making
a lot of kids miserable.
So I decided to reach out
to the main sponsor
of the fat letter law
in my state.
Senator Kearney's office,
this is Emily.
Hi, this is Bailey Webber.
Um, I emailed senator Kearney
a few weeks ago
and I'm trying
to schedule an interview
and I didn't get a response,
so I'm calling again to see
if I could schedule
an interview possibly today.
Um, one second, please?
Because his schedule right now,
uh, we wouldn't be able
to do a live interview.
But if you wanted
to email the questions,
we can get the responses
back to you.
That won't really work
because I'm doing
a video project,
so I'll need to interview him
for a video.
His schedule is really busy.
We're not thinking that
it's gonna be a possibility
to do any
sort of live interview.
I can't explain
what happened to me next.
But the more she refused
to Grant me an interview,
the more determined
I was to get it.
Um, do you think that there's
any other time available,
maybe in a few weeks?
I don't have to have it,
like, immediately.
No, I'm sorry.
He's not available.
So, does senator Kearney
not do video interviews?
He does when it fits
into his schedule.
Maybe, um, will his schedule
open up in a few weeks?
I can't give you
a definitive answer.
I'm not really sure, so...
Um, I can do...
Not even just in a few weeks.
I can do in a few months even.
Would that work?
Um, not at this moment, no.
She just kept on saying,
"schedule, schedule, schedule."
And I said... I'm like,
"everything is open with me.
"My principal is okay with it.
"I can leave school.
"Um, I close to Cincinnati,
Columbus, and Dayton.
"I can... i can drive there
anytime, anywhere
even in a few months."
And she kept on going
back to the schedule,
and then she got around...
She's saying that he doesn't
represent me.
I'm afraid he doesn't
represent you directly.
- Oh, okay.
- So...
And I was confused by that
because it's like,
"wait, he doesn't represent me.
"He passed a law
that represented
me and my friends."
I'm starting to think
that it's not about,
um, scheduling.
It's more about this topic
and maybe senator Kearney
doesn't wanna talk
to someone like me
about this.
But... i mean,
I'm not gonna give up.
I really wanna have
this conversation with him
and this is gonna be
a lot harder than I thought.
Now, there's so many emails.
Well, not everyone shies away
from this heated topic.
In fact, meme Roth
has been one of the more
outspoken voices
in the debate over obesity.
And so, schools,
for a long time,
have taken a role
in child health and welfare.
They see a bruise
or there's sort of,
maybe repeat broken bones.
You know, they say,
- "look, let's look into this."
- Uh-hmm.
And I feel that on the spectrum
of vision, health, um,
hearing, scoliosis,
and all the way
that is your problem
in the home,
maybe there's some
abuse going on.
Somewhere in that spectrum,
I think the BMI screening fits,
even though I understand
people are conflicted
about them.
But seriously,
nobody takes your BMI
and send you to surgery.
Like, there's a big gap
in between.
It is free.
It is non-invasive.
There's no blood.
There's no... not...
There's no spit.
It's literally free,
fast, and easy.
And it's just
an initial screening.
So, it just says,
"hey, um,
"your child might be
a little overweight
"it seems here.
Go check that out."
Or, "hey, your child might be
a little underweight,
go check that out."
If it takes
the government to intervene
to help preserve
a healthy life for these kids,
then I don't love that.
But I'm willing to concede that
if that's what it takes.
At first glance,
you might not think
someone like meme
can truly appreciate
the struggles of obesity
until you learn more
about her own
personal experiences.
I come from a family
that's overweight,
multigenerational, aunts,
uncles, grandparents.
My... both of my parents
are very obese.
My grandmother
was put into a, uh,
24-hour care facility
because her weight
got so immense.
And I think about
that obesity killed her well
before she died.
Imagine yourself
unable or unwilling
to get out of your bed
because you're so heavy
that you're willing
to just go to the bathroom
in your bed.
That's where obesity
takes people.
So, it's really hard for me
to call obesity beautiful.
It's really hard for me
to call rolls of fat curves,
because that's not
what curvy is.
I know what curvy is.
And I think that people
who try to normalize obesity
or glorify obesity,
they mean well.
They want people to feel good
about themselves.
But really,
it's not helping anybody.
But are fat letters
from our government
helping anybody?
And if so,
where is the evidence
to show this?
Hello, senator Kearney's
office, this is Leo.
It seems the one person
who should answer this question
is the only one
not willing to talk to me.
I called a few weeks ago
and, um, I also send an email
and I didn't get a response.
So, I'm calling again
to set up an interview
with senator Kearney.
We won't be able to actually
schedule an interview.
Um, but if you want
to email us your questions,
we can try to share those
with the senator.
Well, I did send an email
a couple of weeks ago
and I didn't get a response.
And plus,
this is a video project,
so just answering on email
won't really work for me.
Yeah, I understand that.
But unfortunately,
it's just that
with an interview
like this, it's...
The more they turned me down,
the more determined I was
not to take no for an answer.
So, I just kept calling back.
Uh, so, I'm calling back again,
but I forgot to ask
the question.
Can you give me a list
of any of the places
senator Kearney will be?
Anything on the schedule,
any luncheons,
or public speeches?
Uh, currently, no.
So, there's nothing
on his schedule?
I don't have any...
Anything like that
scheduled at this time.
Oh, can... so then,
can I just schedule
an interview?
No, if you want
your questions answered,
you need to email them to us.
It was official.
The battle of wills
was in full swing now.
Hello, senator Kearney's office.
This is Leo.
Hi, Leo. This is Bailey again.
I'm calling again
because you said
that there was nothing
on the schedule,
so I would like to schedule
a private luncheon,
and how would I do that?
I think what you're getting at
is if can you show up somewhere
and ask him your question
and have a conversation
with him.
The answer is no.
I tried the confused angle.
No, there's no schedule?
I tried to be assertive.
He's willing to speak for us,
but not to us.
No, if you want
your questions...
I even resorted to sarcasm.
So, is senator Kearney
a public official?
Is he a public official? Yeah.
So, as a public official,
when will he officially
be in public?
So, when you think
about our lawmakers
and everything they do,
it's all scripted.
Hearings, they're scripted.
They're reading off a speech.
Um, commercials, scripted.
They're reading off
a teleprompter.
Everything they do is scripted.
And when I called
to have an open conversation,
they said,
"no, we can't do that,"
but we can send an email.
Well, no, that's scripted.
They always are wanting
like students
to be more involved
in government
to learn about it, be interested
and, um, and I'm interested,
but they said,
"no, this is all the question.
"The senator
cannot have a interview
or a conversation
with a citizen."
Do you wanna call again?
The BMI to notify them.
But not all lawmakers
were silent on the matter.
Senator Gary Cates
was more than willing
to talk to me
about the BMI law.
So, I can tell you
from personal, uh, testimony
that there are times
when there are bills
that come to legislature
that sometimes,
you vote for something
even though you don't think
it's the right thing to do
because you're worried
about negative consequences
such as bad newspaper stories.
Commercials and campaigns
saying that you hate kids,
you don't want them
to be healthy.
But sometimes,
even if you're the only
person opposes to it,
if you think it's
the right thing to do,
you got to do that.
And senator Cates did just that.
In fact, he was one
of the few lawmakers
who raised concerns
about the BMI mandate
during the senate hearing.
I would tell you
the approach we're taking here
is completely wrong.
And so, the last thing
we need to be doing here
is to get involved with this,
have our schools
involved with this.
I was trying to convey
to my colleagues
is that think
really hard about this.
We're gonna regret this.
And I can't help but to think
that the school district
is gonna be jumping
up and down saying,
"yippee, now,
we have this to do."
We can't do everything
in the schools.
There are some things
that have to remain
within the family nucleus
- and I think that...
- Senator Cates
was not alone in his descent.
Some school officials
also stood firm
in opposition to the law.
I took it to the school board.
We had a discussion and we said,
"no, we're not
gonna force our children
"to go through
this kind of testing
in our school."
So, how does schools like this
get away with ignoring
the mandate?
As it turns out,
the law does allow for a waiver
to be issued.
But there's a catch.
A district has to claim
a financial hardship
to get it.
So, what if your objection
is philosophical?
The question I have
is what do we do
with a school district
who may wish
to opt out for philosophical
or other reasons?
This would not allow them
to do this.
So, I'd like a clarification
on that, please.
Senator Cadman, would you, uh...
I don't agree with that.
Senator Cadman, would you reply
to the chair, please?
Hmm, a tricky one.
I am gonna phone a friend.
What? Phone a friend?
Oh, call me. I know this one.
The answer
you're looking for is, no.
Senator Cadman, it looked like
you established contact
- with that friend...
- No.
Without phoning.
But I'll...
I will phone a friend
and ask senator Seitz
who indicates that there is...
There is a answer
to that specific question.
Just answer the question. No.
Thank you very much,
Mr. president.
My good friend from Butler
county raises a very good point
because the requirement
to get the waiver
is that it be
for financial reasons
- and...
- Clear enough,
that's a no.
Oh, wait, he's still talking.
If indeed
the requirement violates
the philosophic position
of the school,
clearly, that could have
a financial impact
on the school because...
Ah, I see where this is heading.
I believe that this goes
against their philosophy.
They are not going to send
their children to the school.
And that will clearly create
financial hardship
to the school,
then therefore,
all they've got to do
is turn in an affidavit.
In other words,
make up a fantastic,
convoluted story
that ends with an imaginary
financial hardship
for your school.
Then, with a wink and a nod
from the state,
you've got yourself a waiver.
The beauty of this amendment
is that the affidavit
is in effect,
It is an automatic waiver
and that's why
that last sentence...
My dad once told me
that people shouldn't see
how sausage in malls are made.
I never really understood
what that meant
until just now.
So, for those schools
that have
a philosophic objection
that will lead
to financial hardship,
for those schools that don't
wanna spend the extra money
for financial hardship,
one simple affidavit
is a self-effectuating way...
Ugh, that's disgusting.
Can we just take that off
the screen, please?
Oh, okay, that's better.
I'm sorry everybody
had to see that.
Then again, I'm just a kid.
I'm probably
just misunderstanding
all of this beautiful language.
The board signed off on it
and I made the application
for the waiver.
I don't think it was a great
financial burden.
It was more of a philosophical.
Nope, I was right.
We're all in the same page here.
In spite of the criticism,
other states have begun adopting
similar BMI notifications.
But why are they so popular
among lawmakers?
At Columbia university,
I met with professor
Sayantani Dasgupta
who is also a pediatrician
and mother.
We have these
knee jerk reactions
to things that we see as crisis.
And we wanna do
the right thing, right?
We want a healthy
nation of kids.
And so, we think,
"well, gee,
what's something quick
and far reaching
and simple that we can do?"
And I think that's how people
fall into these traps
of legislation like this.
And it's very attractive
kind of one quick answer,
one quick number
that's gonna tell you
healthy or not?
And yet,
the indicator itself,
BMI itself,
may not be an accurate
measure of anything.
And that's a really
kind of harsh reality to face
when you've made
a bunch of legislation
based on the truthiness
of this number.
Then, the possibility is,
no matter how good
the intentions,
we might be doing
more harm than good, right?
But it seems lawmakers
don't wanna talk
about that possibility
and all the good
intentions in the world
don't necessarily lead
to good results.
So, with everyone I interview,
I conduct my own BMI test.
And so... yes.
Do you now?
So I have a scale today
and I was wondering,
would you like to be
a part of my BMI test?
Thank you very much
for the offer.
Um, I don't think
our young people
should be being weighed
in gym class.
And I think I will choose
to not be weighed today either.
Okay, I totally understand.
So, you'd like to exercise
your right to choose?
I do.
You choose no.
Although I appreciate
your private...
Door-to-door BMI service.
It's perfectly fine.
You know,
I exercise my right
and I'm not particularly
affected by it.
What worries me
is that I don't think
my 10-year-old daughter,
I don't think
she would have the room
- or even know it was an option...
- Yeah.
To exercise her right
not to get on that scale.
Officials in several
states have adapted
a controversial tactic
in trying to bring
childhood obesity
under control.
They're sending
what some call...
Nineteen states
across the country
this September
are considering sending
these letters home.
States across from, uh, new
York to Arkansas to Illinois
are participating in this.
They're monitoring
how fat the kid is...
Florida law
that requires students
to have health screenings
is stirring up controversy.
The parents of a young girl
in Naples, Florida...
are being sent home
to children as a part
of the Massachusetts department
of public health's policy
to inform parents
of their child's body mass index
or BMI and their risk
of obesity.
As government BMI initiatives
and fat letters
spread like wildfire
across the country,
it even extends to kids
who aren't overweight at all.
We got it, everyone
got it that day in school.
And, you know, we were all...
I think we were pretty much
all called overweight.
My friend said she cried at home
because she was called obese.
And she's not obese.
And it was one of my best
friends, you know.
So, it says that I'm 60...
I was 66 pounds...
And my BMI was 19.
So, it says here, current BMI
is 19, placing you
in the 88th percentile
for child...
For girls age nine.
Your BMI falls outside
the healthy weight.
Please review your BMI
with a healthcare provider.
And I was like,
"oh, I'm overweight."
And, like, at first,
I was like,
"oh, I'm only 66 pounds."
And then, I looked, I'm like...
I'm like, wow.
The normal...
I'm 88th percentile...
- Uh-huh.
- And the normal one
is 77th percentile.
So, I'm only
10 away from normal...
From like, you know,
what they say is normal health.
They're going about it
in the wrong way.
To me, it's just a way
for them to say,
"well, we're doing something.
We're combating
childhood obesity."
You're not combating
childhood obesity.
You're... you know,
you're simply
sending home a letter
that in fact might be doing
more psychological harm
than physical wellbeing.
You know, we hear
so much in the news now
about the obesity epidemic.
And this is not to minimize
the seriousness of it,
but we also have an epidemic
of eating disorders.
And we need to make sure
that in our efforts
to confront one epidemic,
we're not adding
fuel to the fire
of another one which is what
we're hearing so much
that this, perhaps,
but incredibly
misguided approach
of screening kids for BMI
and sending home letters
is actually triggering
eating disorders
and stoking
an intense fear of fat
in young children
who don't need
to be thinking about that.
It's very toxic,
kind of, thinking for kids.
It was actually
getting this letter
that then made her question,
is she overweight?
Which made her then
examine her body,
you know, asking, "is it this?
Is it my thigh?
Is it my stomach?"
And then,
it was a frantic feeling almost
of me trying to...
Trying to tell like,
"no, no, everything's fine.
"No, that's perfect.
"You're perfect.
That's fine.
Don't worry about that.
That's not what they mean."
And all this encouraging.
That is what...
Was most disturbing
about the whole thing.
Is that now, you just put this
into my nine-year-old's head.
You put this thought
into her head.
Are you against
vision screenings at school?
Are you against
hearing screenings at school?
Are you against
scoliosis screenings at school?
I'm not. I think it's great
that our schools help us
out in that way.
And the thing
about children's weight
is study after study show
that parents don't recognize
their children's
weight problems.
You just kind of don't see it.
You think your kid
is kind of normal, and so...
Well, that may be true,
but how did these studies
define obesity?
I mean, would we even agree
with the definition
or would we be counted
as fat blind?
Like these parents
who also received letters
calling their kids overweight.
But apparently,
they just don't see it.
And he came home and said,
"I'm fat."
I said, "you're not fat.
That's... where did
you hear that?"
He said, "from school.
"I opened up my fitness gram
and it said I'm fat."
Clearly, this mother
is delusional
and can't see
her own son's obesity
the same way the state does.
Does that make you feel
really bad about yourself, too?
Did you look at yourself
in the mirror...
You did?
The thing about
the BMI screening
is that the reason the parents
are in an uproar over it,
the f isn't for fat.
The f is for parenting.
Those letters come home
and parents feel like
it's an indictment
on them and it is.
You know, what's for them to say
that my daughter is overweight?
My daughter is actually active.
She's black belt,
not everybody is going to have
the model image, skinny
that the government
or whoever say
that they need to be skinny.
I don't think she's overweight.
I think she's fine
the way she is.
Well, they said I was obese.
I thought, "oh, my gosh,
why are they thinking
like this?"
I felt like I was...
I wanted to cry.
Go straight to my room and cry.
Just do what I did.
They don't...
They don't know us.
You did when you got home?
Yeah, but I was
thinking to myself,
I was remembering
what I eat every night,
a daily serving
of veggies and fruits.
So, I was like,
"if I have my fruits
and veggies,
why do they
call me obese?"
There's no reason
for saying that.
It's like they called
everybody that.
Each one of these kids
received a fat letter.
Like, they had
a little measurement,
but they were called overweight.
The focus on body shape
and body image in our society
has become very extreme.
And, you know,
it's not improved a lot
over the years
where young women particularly,
but I always have to mention
young men are forced
into categories.
Well, that's what
they think of us.
It's not like they're judging us
by who we really are.
Kids, yeah, you can
make health fun with them.
And it doesn't have
to be accusatory,
it doesn't have to blame,
and it doesn't have
to make a poor child
grab the body fat on their side
and say, "this is
what they're talking about."
I've brought a scale
right here
and I was wondering
if you'd like to participate
in my own private BMI test.
Come back in three months
when I've had time
to lose a few.
You're fine.
No one else has
wanted to be weighed.
I don't blame you.
All right.
Through this experience,
I've talked to many kids
and a lot of them
are very healthy.
And they even say
when they go to school
they feel really embarrassed.
Even though they're healthy,
they feel embarrassed
to get on the scale
at the school setting.
What do you think about this?
Well, weight has become
a stigmatized subject
because a lot of people are
embarrassed about their weight
and children are taught
that you don't discuss weight.
You're not allowed to ask
people's age and weight,
it's so silly.
These are just numbers,
- these are just facts.
- Yeah.
How old you are,
how tall you are,
how much you weigh
are just numbers.
And so we sort if spread this,
discomfort about our weight
even for people who have,
like, what?
I'm this number
- and it means nothing to me.
- Yeah.
We make them feel,
I think a little
uncomfortable about it
because society's uncomfortable
- about the subject of weight.
- Yeah.
Now, everyone I interview,
I conduct my own BMI test.
Yeah. And so,
I mean, just to be fair,
I'm gonna ask you.
I have a scale here today.
Oh, no, I have to weigh today?
If you want,
I'll give you a choice.
I have a scale here,
and would you want
to participate
in my own BMI test?
So this would be
between me and you.
Not really.
It... that is
perfectly okay.
No one had said yes.
I have to think about that.
I have to think about... that's...
No, no, no,
everyone had said no.
Everyone had said no?
No one wants to go on the scale.
Because they don't wanna weigh?
Yeah, and even you said
the one thing you wished
when BMI was in school
is that they weigh the kid...
Privately, not in front
of their friends.
Very, very private, you know.
Yeah, I do...
I do think it's private,
- but for me, right now.
- Yeah...
This minute, this week,
I happen to know
that I'm really heavy for me.
Otherwise, I'd be jumping
on your scale,
like, of course I'd be happy.
So, I feel
like it's terrible of me
to not really want to.
But it's because I don't
wanna face reality
that I already know,
which I'm about five pounds
heavier than I should be.
And I know exactly why.
I know Halloween.
Yeah, exactly.
I know the fudge tart cookies,
I know the nutter butters.
I know why.
And, so I think that's why
- I don't wanna deal with it.
- Yeah.
But, i...
But I don't think it's fair.
I think I should get
on your scale.
I think it's weasel of me...
We... very weaselly of me
- to not get on your scale.
- No, I understand.
No, I will weigh myself only...
Because I think
it's wrong not to.
But I've given you every reason
why I hate it
as much as anybody else
and I don't wanna go
on the record
that I've ever been this heavy.
I'm so mad
because I shouldn't be,
but let's do it.
You... oh, are you sure?
Yeah, no, it's fair.
Oh, you put it right here.
Okay, one second.
So, what is my...
What is my allowance on...
Yeah. Well...
All these pretend pounds
of clothes that I'm wearing?
We'll take off five pounds.
So here's the thing...
So, tap it once
and then you step on it.
Tap it and then get it on?
So this is why really sucks
because... okay, there.
Oh, oh, sorry.
So, um...
What were you saying?
Don't step on it yet.
'Cause I know that I'm...
Okay, you tell me...
Do I do it now?
Now you can.
So this is gonna really suck
for me...
Because... oh.
So I'm about five
overruns this week,
but I can live with that.
With everyone's support, yeah.
But that is what it is.
As I travel
the country with my scale
making friends
and making my case
I still couldn't reach
the one person
closest to my home.
And then out of the blue
it happened.
I'm sitting here at the computer
doing my homework
and I look over to the TV
and senator Kearney
is on the news.
This is the man
I've been chasing for so long
and he's on the news.
Okay. Hold on.
Let me rewind this.
I just literally got an email
from the campaign
- two minutes ago.
- Senator Kearney,
that's him.
So, Wednesday, it looks
like the president is going
to be here.
The man who doesn't give
interviews is on the news.
And he says where he's gonna be.
President Obama
is expected to arrive
in Cincinnati tomorrow night.
It's gonna be his free
two minutes ago, so, Wednesday,
it looks like the president
is going to be here.
And he's gonna be there, too.
I guess him
and the president are tight.
I got to find out
where there is.
I'm sorry but we won't be able
to get you any more tickets
because the event is sold-out.
I'm trying to think
is there any other,
like, way I could get it in?
There'd be any extra seating,
I can stand.
Well, you're welcome
to come down
and show your support,
but without a ticket,
I'm afraid you won't be able
to get in.
I'm a student
and I'm studying journalism
and, um,
and I would like to get in
because I'm trying
to get this interview
with the senator.
Well, if you have a press pass,
you might be able
to get in that way,
but that's not handled by us.
Do you have press credentials
from your school?
What are press credentials?
Well, press credentials
are like an ID
that identify you
as a journalist
or at work.
But again, press passes
aren't issued by us.
That's handled
by the president's staff.
So, I'm not really sure
what to tell you there.
I may not have
press credentials,
but I have Photoshop
and a printer.
My heart was racing.
After all this time,
I've almost made it,
and behind this door
was my destiny.
Actually I was wrong.
Behind that door
was the secret service.
Thank you.
After a few
uncomfortable minutes
of explaining myself,
turns out the president's
people were kind of cool.
They even issued me
a white house press pass
for the event.
Hi. This is Bailey Webber.
I'm here from university
of Cincinnati
and I saw on the news
that senator Kearney
was gonna be here.
So I was hoping maybe
to get an interview with him.
I'm in the press area,
so it'd be great
if you give me a call back maybe
if you can come over here
and just talk to me.
That'd be great.
Thank you so much. Bye.
Maybe he's here.
Hello, Ohio.
It's the president.
The fight just yet.
I am not ready to give up
on that fight.
Wait, Kearney's
right over there.
For those of you who
and still trying to open
their minds.
This is not just a choice
between two candidates
and two parties,
it's a choice between two
- different visions of America.
- Where is he?
He just left.
He was standing
right over there.
A choice between a return.
Hi, this is Bailey again
calling for the senator
and I see him right here.
I was wondering if he could
just come to the press area
so I can interview him
real quick
if that's all right.
Thank you so much. Bye.
In the past,
we feel the same way.
We want you first.
You don't...
Let's see if he comes.
I got it.
That's him.
Yeah, that's him.
And so this can't make
you have to want
the change, right?
And it starts
with the choices that you make,
and this is what I tell my kids,
make healthy choices, right?
It's comforting to think
it's diet and exercise,
because it's something
that feels controllable.
Just think about putting
a little more fruits
and vegetables on that tray
and then trying to eat them.
Can you do that?
Come on now.
There are a lot
of researchers out there that,
that will insist
it's a simple physics equation,
energy in, energy out,
and it should be fine,
but that's not the case.
You have to be active
and move, right?
Can you help me with that?
We need to stop
putting this on the kids
and saying it's your fault
or there's something
you're doing wrong.
We don't want whining.
Can you help us by not whining
about a change?
You know,
to single out kids and say,
"you need to change
your behavior,
this number is a problem,"
you know, it's not the number
that's the problem,
it's all of the other issues.
It's not one single thing,
it's gonna be 50,
60 different things
that we'll have to look at.
The truth of the matter is,
there's a big problem
facing our country
and the solution
isn't that easy.
We have been offering eat less,
move more
lifestyle modification,
which is all important,
but we have been offering
that treatment
for the last 50 years.
If it is that simple,
why are we talking
about obesity today?
Why is it not fixed 50 years ago
if it was a simple cure?
Meet Dr. Nikhil Dhurandhar,
a physician with a masters
in nutrition sciences
and a PHD in biochemistry.
Many, many people,
when they hear the word obesity,
the first they think...
Probably think of
is that these people
who are suffering from obesity,
they have no willpower
or no self-discipline,
and that is what has caused
their obesity.
But remember that obesity
is a disease.
It chooses you,
you don't choose obesity.
Dr. Dhurandhar's lifework
has revolved
around researching obesity.
His dad is known as the father
of obesity practice in India,
and he's not only the chair
and professor
of nutritional sciences
here at Texas tech university,
but he's also president
of the obesity society.
Maybe we should listen
to what he has to say.
But some people seem to think
they have inherent knowledge
about how to prevent
or treat obesity
without necessarily studying
the science of obesity
and that's the dangerous part.
More scientists
learn about obesity,
more I learn about obesity,
more I learn what I don't know
and what we need to find out.
The danger comes
from simplifying the issue
considering this complex disease
as a simple matter of willpower.
And that's where
the danger comes
about assuming so many things
that it is your choice
to become obese
and it's your choice
that you will remain obese.
Sleep, you know,
too much sleep
or too little sleep
is linked with obesity.
Environment of a baby
in mother's womb,
in uterus,
is linked with obesity
as well as many other
metabolic diseases
such as diabetes.
There are certain infections,
viral infections
or other microbes
that have been linked
with obesity in humans
and having shown
to cause obesity
in various animal models.
So, the...
These are numerous factors
that are an...
What they call
as endocrine disruptors
so these are chemicals
in our environment.
And there are people
who are investigating
if those chemicals
in our environment
are contributing to obesity.
So, intuitively,
it sounds like it's only that
and exercise,
but what are the other factors
that maybe sort of superimposed
on that diet and that activity
or that hunger and that satiety?
And that could be many.
If you find that
hard to believe,
hold on to your seats.
Look at this data
from the center
for disease control
showing what an outbreak of flu
looks like.
As a contagious virus,
notice how it moves and spreads
exactly as we would expect
a contagion to do.
Now, here's a map
showing asthma.
As a non-contagion,
there is no pattern
whatsoever to its growth.
It appears random.
Now look at this data
also from the CDC.
This is the spread of obesity.
It spreads
exactly like a contagion.
It acts like a virus.
It moves.
If obesity is only
about an individual's diet
and exercise,
how do we explain this?
The world health organization
has declared that we,
as in the world,
is in the middle of a global
obesity epidemic.
Every single country
is experiencing
increase in prevalence
of obesity,
and this phenomena is observed
only for the past few years.
What's going on?
Every population
is getting heavier
in the United States,
to some extent Canada,
- Britain definitely, Australia.
- Worldwide,
about twenty-two
million children
under the age of five
- are estimated to be overweight.
- Now one in five people
are overweight
or obese in China.
- More than 250 million people...
- Mexico has overtaken
the United States
in levels of adult obesity
according to a recent
united nations report.
There have been various
theories offered
why we're having
increase in obesity,
prevalence all over the world,
but not a single theory
explains situation
in every country.
We have been focused
on obesity in humans,
but it has also been noticed
that while we're doing that
in past 20 years or so,
animals have been increasing
their weight as well
and we don't know the reason.
But it has been seen
that companies
that supply...
A certain company
that supply animals
for research,
they have animals
in very controlled environment,
and those animals
have also gained weight.
When we are talking
about obesity,
it's not only
in the United States,
it's many countries
in the world.
And, no, it's not only humans,
it's even animals
seem to be gaining
more weight in the recent past,
and what would be
a satisfactory,
like, explanation for that?
I don't know.
are in the building.
It's been seven months
and I'm calling
senator Kearney back
to schedule an interview,
and they told me
they'll email me,
and then surprise, surprise,
they never emailed me back.
So, I'm calling again
- to see if it's impossible.
- You... it's not an issue.
No, no, no,
it's not an issue of gaining
additional information from you.
It's an issue of creating
a paper trail.
- Right. Um...
- One thing we do
is... I'm sorry?
Is there...
Is it possible for today
to pick a date
or are you guys busy?
No, like it's over...
Yeah, I actually have a meeting
in six minutes and...
- Okay.
- If you can email it
to me then from you.
It's an issue of creating
a paper trail
in a way that we do in...
Can, um, we can pick a date
in six minutes,
is that all right?
Bailey, no.
You need to email me, Bailey.
I mean, I don't know
what's the deal.
Like, if I call,
I can't schedule,
email can't schedule.
She tried to blame it on me
like it was my fault,
that I'm not emailing
the questions,
or maybe I'm not calling,
I'm not...
Working as hard as I should
for this interview.
I actually have emailed
lots of times
and nobody's gotten back
with me.
I've called like six times,
I've emailed,
more than six times.
I don't get it,
like, why would you
be rude to me?
I'm not being rude,
I'm just being...
I'm determined.
There's nothing wrong with that.
In here and send it to me.
I'll go over it with the senator
and I'll be happy to get back.
How far will I go?
I think I'll...
I think I've gone far enough.
It's been seven months,
why not seven more months?
How about a year?
And they, like,
make walls for me.
The walls treated me bad
and they treat me
and my friends bad
and now they're treating me bad
personally on the phone.
I don't know.
I didn't know about...
I didn't know
that our government
was like this.
I guess this is, kind of,
like a learning experience,
but I will get his interview.
You know, who gets to speak
and who gets spoken for
in our society
is an issue of power.
If I had a message to give
to young women,
to young people in general,
I would say
nobody can give you your voice.
You have to claim your voice.
And you have to speak,
and if they don't hear you,
you have to speak,
and speak, and speak again.
If they're not willing
to listen,
you have to say it again
and knock on a different door.
Do you know where
the senate session is gonna be?
Yeah. Upstairs.
Okay, cool.
Thank you.
If they're still not
willing to hear,
well then maybe they need
to move over
so that those banded together
young people
can make the change
that's needed themselves.
This place is huge.
I don't know where I'm going.
Hi. Do you know
if senator Kearney
is gonna be in here
for the hearing?
Senator who?
I don't know.
Oh, okay.
I don't know.
Okay. That's fine.
I'm not sure, honestly.
Okay. Thank you.
Yeah, I recognize
that guy over there.
He was one of the people
at the hearing
who spoke out against...
Or for the waver
and he explained
that and he said
that to pretty much lie
if it's not a financial burden
to put down for the waver.
So he's one of the makers.
I watched the hearing...
I said I'm doing this project,
on childhood obesity
and I heard that he spoke out
at this during the bill
couple of years ago
and I'd like to get
his perspective on it.
And he was like,
"oh, sure, yeah,
we can do that."
And then turned around.
He didn't seem like he wanted
to talk right now.
It's kind of awkward.
I stayed in there
for a little bit, like,
"I guess this conversation
is over."
I was just like,
"um, don't get up.
I can see myself out."
Okay. Upstairs?
Ground floor and
okay. Cool.
Here we are.
Senator Kearney's office.
I can't believe it.
Senator, minority leader.
Let's get the interview.
Hi. Mr. senator.
I got the interview.
We're gonna schedule.
I'm gonna scoop out some areas
in place.
They're really nice.
And, oh, yeah, that's not all.
I met with senator Kearney,
he was right there.
He just kind of came in
and then I introduced myself
and I kind of was surprised.
They're gonna email me back
and we'll pick the location
and we're gonna pick a date,
so I'm gonna get the interview.
Hi, Bailey. How are you?
Very good.
Hi. Yeah, tell me
what I should do.
Okay. Would you mind
sitting there?
I'll sit wherever you tell me.
Okay. Cool.
Is this all good?
And, like, I watched
the hearings and stuff
and so, yeah. Yeah.
Oh, you did?
They're online.
And so... yeah,
so I became,
like, very knowledgeable
about all of that.
We have limited time.
I'm gonna, kind of,
skip the first part.
Do you still recommend
that schools continue to do
BMI tests and send out letters
to kids who are overweight?
Yes, I think BMI testing
is very important
and the way that it was designed
was... schools
wouldn't report
by school districts or by, um,
or by individual schools,
they will report by county.
And so that way,
we could get the data,
the state could have
that information
and we could see if over time,
the things that we're doing,
the steps that we're taking
like incorporating gym class,
reducing the availability
of sugary drinks,
including healthy food
during lunchtime,
if that's working,
and if Ohio's children's BMI
is going down.
So I still support it.
Once you find out
some health information
about a student
that their BMI is elevated
or above the acceptable range,
we felt it was a responsible
thing to do
to inform the parent
and let the parent
make the decision.
Are you saying,
like, that parents,
like, they don't know
that their child is overweight?
Well, they may not know
that their child is overweight
compared to certain statistics.
So for instance,
you might look at someone
and look at your child
and think,
"oh, my child
is perfectly healthy,"
and not realize that,
well, there's certain
health risks
that may be associated
with their current weight
or body.
So it's just to inform them
about it.
And like, you know,
like kids go to doctors,
are you saying that,
like, the doctors
don't know
that they're overweight?
Well, doctors may know
but doctors may not inform them
that the BMI is above
an acceptable range
or that the child is overweight
and what to do about it.
I know that when I take
my children
to the pediatrician,
the pediatrician
takes their weight,
writes it down
on a piece of paper,
and that's the last
you hear about it.
Oh, yeah.
So they never talk
about the weight, um...
And my school
did BMI testing on us.
Lots of kids got these letters
including my friend, Maddie.
This is the letter she received.
Oh, okay.
I take it Maddie
didn't like this letter.
Yeah, she got this letter
in her report card.
She was so excite
to see her grades.
She's an a student.
And she see...
She pulls out the letter,
as frustrated
as she was already,
she just ripped it up
and threw it in the trash can.
And her mom found it
and taped it together
and almost made her
go into depression
and she... it ruined
her entire summer.
It was pretty hard for her.
Okay. So, she didn't like
getting the letter at all.
No, she was already aware
and this did nothing
to help her.
Hmm. Well, I'm sorry
about your friend, Maddie.
And it seems like it was
very disturbing
by, um, by the letter
but I mean, hmm,
some of the...
Some of the things
that the letter says is,
um, well,
I can't read all of it
because, you know,
part of it is missing.
Yeah, it says not go on a diet
and to see her doctor.
But other than that,
there's nothing else
that is helping her
like an educational tool
besides saying,
"you're high in your weight,"
like it even
highlights it there.
Yeah, right.
So, her mom
was pretty upset by it
and how, kind of...
Oh, she was?
She... they're very aware.
And actually, her mom,
she knows a lot about health
and they have a garden
in their backyard.
Can you, like, understand
how they might feel
and how these letters
might be going out
to kids who aren't
necessarily healthy
and actually shouldn't be
getting the letter?
No, I think everyone
should get the letter
if they went through
the BMI test,
because it just says
whether you're above,
below, or in the...
In the acceptable range,
that's all it says.
And what you do with it
or how you react to it
is something...
Is something different.
I can perfectly understand
how some people
would be offended by the...
By the letter, but overall,
I think that the goal
of what we're trying
to accomplish through the bill
and the implementation
of the law,
are worthwhile goals.
I guess just Maddie
and kids who are like Maddie
are just, kind of,
collateral damage
in this study?
Well, I wouldn't call them
collateral damage,
I mean, I'm very sorry
that Maddie feels this way
but I think that there are
some good things
that the bill is trying
to accomplish.
Perhaps the execution
wasn't the way
that we envisioned
but, certainly, I wouldn't...
I wouldn't use that phrase
as collateral damage.
I don't... no,
I don't think of them that way.
So you just wish
that never happened to her
and people who are like her?
Well, I wish her reaction
weren't the...
Weren't the way that it happened
- and I wish that...
- Wow,
the senator's constant
blaming is unbearable.
Parents are clueless.
Doctors are incompetent.
And if you're upset
about being profiled
and bullied,
you're just reacting
the wrong way.
But of everything that was said,
this was the most bizarre.
Yeah, we should find out
why they're sending
those letters out.
Wait, what?
Why are they sending
these letters out?
You've written a law
forcing them to.
That's it.
It's time to do
what I came here for.
I'm gonna get something.
So, just like you did,
I'm doing my own BMI study
with my documentary.
If you wouldn't mind,
would you please step
on the scale?
Because I'm doing my own
private BMI test.
I don't understand.
I mean, with everybody
I interview, I ask them
if they would like
to get on the scale,
because kids at our school,
they had to get on the scale
to be weighed for BMI test.
Okay. I'm willing
to do it
but I think it was only fair
to let me know
that you're gonna do
stuff like that beforehand,
but okay, I mean I'll do BMI.
Do you want me to step on it
with my shoes
or without my shoes?
Oh, you can... you can take off
your shoes if you want.
Okay. I don't wanna
mess up your scale
so I'm asking you
for that reason.
Yeah, it'll be okay.
We'll weigh...
The entire documentary?
The entire documentary.
The entire documentary
is about...
Childhood obesity,
but one part of it is about
and how
I don't know...
I don't know what that means.
Oh, a hundred
and ninety-three.
You mean in terms of my weight?
Did he say, no?
I guess we've all been there
at some point.
Looking down at that number
in disbelief,
telling the scales, "no."
After spending an awkward moment
debating whether scales
are more accurate
on carpet or tile,
the senator finally agreed
to his weight.
We can just use this number.
It's 19... it says 193.
I'm 72 inches.
Thank you for doing that.
Okay. Well, I don't
have a problem.
I mean...
Just some people...
If you wanna know my BMI,
I don't...
I don't mind that.
Some people feel like
being weighed is uncomfortable
and they only think
it's for them
and their doctor.
Okay, well...
Can you understand how...
People can have...
Can have that opinion.
Yeah. Do you feel like I,
kind of, crossed my boundaries
asking you
to do something personal
that's between you
and your doctor?
No, this is what I think.
If you had told me beforehand,
I would have been
more than happy
to agree to do that.
So, you know,
if you wanna know my BMI,
it's not really quite frankly
that personal.
- I don't really mind it.
- Yeah.
Or if somebody wants
to know my weight,
- that's okay, too.
- You seem very fit,
but what about,
like, overweight kids,
can you understand
how overweight kids
feel uncomfortable?
Yes. Yes.
I understand.
I'm empathetic to that.
Yeah? Okay.
You can look at a person
and tell that person
has obesity or not
because a person, unfortunately,
wears that disease
on their body.
You don't need
a special screening
to find that out.
And perhaps that makes people
jump to give helpful advice
to those who are suffering
from that disease, obesity.
But trust me,
those people know that.
They don't... you don't need
to tell somebody have...
That they have obesity or not.
You may have to tell somebody
whether they have
diabetes or not
or high blood pressure or not,
but you don't need
to tell somebody
who has obesity or not.
They... that person knows that.
The assumption behind
telling somebody
that you have obesity,
the assumption is,
that person is choosing
not to lose weight.
And that is a very wrong
So simply pointing out
that you have more bodyweight
means nothing
in terms of that person
being able to take
a meaningful corrective action.
210 divided by...
72 squared.
Seventy-two squared.
That's, seven... okay.
So that's 28.4.
Okay, let's see right here.
That isn't... on here,
it's such a narrow range.
- Uh-hmm.
- For the healthy weight.
Yeah, that's over...
So forty-four,
Yeah, that's obese.
200 divided by...
66 squared.
- He is overweight.
- Okay.
Get that up there.
Okay, the next one.
Okay, okay.
Okay, here.
Oh, that's just shocking.
All these people
voted for the goal
and most of them
this is interesting.
Oh, my gosh.
There's only three people
that meet it.
Yeah, and all
these people wanted,
like, this bill to happen
and they all themselves
are overweight or obese.
Like, how can you talk?
Yeah. And how
could you bully
someone else and being like,
"you don't fit
the standards?"
We're gonna... we're gonna try
to change that.
So we're here
at the state house.
We're delivering the fat letters
that we've been working on
to the senators
who voted for the bill
and it says their BMI,
it has the same language
as the letter
that Maddie received.
And we're gonna go up there
and deliver them together
and so just holding them
to the same standards
just like they did to us.
Over there.
All right.
Let's go.
Here it is.
We found it.
Hold this.
All right.
Are you ready?
All right
yeah, I mean, I understand that.
When we were walking
on the hallway
like getting ready to,
like, deliver it
and one of the senators
walked out,
it just... it all hit me
at once.
It became real
and then when we, like,
went up to her office
and we saw her nameplate,
I just...
It felt so wrong
because she's a real person.
She wasn't just a face
on the Internet.
I mean, she was
just like me and you,
and I know I felt
and I felt crushed
and horrible by myself.
I felt like I didn't
belong anywhere.
And I would never
wanna make anyone feel that way.
I'm sorry that I've... like,
we talked about this
and I was so ready to do this.
I came here wanting
to do this and I just...
It just made me feel bad
when I received the letter.
I mean, I felt uncomfortable
about it, too.
I thought it was mean
but I mean, then again,
I just had in my head
holding them
to the same standards,
but I understand.
I'm glad you stepped up.
I just couldn't go
through with it.
I feel bad because I was like,
"here, I'll give it
to him ."
Like, I was stepping up for you.
But then you're right,
it wasn't the right thing to do.
Well, I mean,
I guess you could be
a good bureaucrat
because, I mean...
Because I don't have feelings?
Yes, because you don't have
any feelings.
Well, actually,
hold that thought.
I still have the letters.
So when you leave,
I'm going back up there
and I'm giving some senators
some letters.
Oh, my gosh.
You would make
a perfect bureaucrat.
When I see young people
using their experience,
using their insight
to speak up
and speak out,
it's so wonderful.
And it does give me hope.
It can bring about change
on a personal level
and the other
really amazing thing
is that it can bring
about change
on a cultural level
and real measurable change.
It has become my...
Sort of my religion that I want
to do something to this field.
Now, I don't...
I don't have the arrogance
to think I'm gonna
change everything
and cure this global
epidemic of obesity
that we have,
but I want to be able
to contribute
to whatever extent I can
and that's my, passion.
Let's not make health
one more
kind of measuring stick,
one more moral ruler
to beat kids on the head with.
Let's give them room
to be healthy
and love themselves.
When you think
about the understandings
we've come up with
over the last,
you know, 20 years,
the... it's really changed
the way we look at the problem.
And I think we are starting
to finally unravel,
many of the pieces
that go into
the obesity epidemic.
We need to launch
the direction of research
and approach
that can effectively treat,
control, prevent this disease.
And those solutions
can be at society level,
at community level,
at individual level,
at genetic level.
So all those
together eventually,
we will be able to
conquer this disease.
Hi, sir. Would you like
to participate
in our free BMI test?
Okay. That's fine.
Do you think it's uncomfortable?
The lawmakers made us
get on the scales
to be weighed for BMI,
so we're up here to see
if anyone else
would like to do it.
We won't write you a letter.
We're doing free BMI test today.
Oh, good.
Totally understand.
You got to have a permit, okay?
Oh, we didn't know.
We thought it was public.
Okay. Are we allowed
to just ask questions?
Or I mean out here.
But you'll be able
to film and stuff.
So you're doing free hugs?
Oh, yeah,
you got free BMI test?
Is that on?
It's always on.
Are we allowed to, like, do it
without, like, the sign,
you know, the sign is...
No. No.
Not even ask questions?
No, ma'am.
There's a free speech area
right out there
in front of that fountain.
So we'll just head over there.
We just make sure we don't
disturb anyone with the truth.
Would you guys like a free BMI?
Free BMI.
This is our only spot
we're allowed to stand.
At this common area,
we're not allowed
to have weapons,
concealed firearms,
or free speech.
So there's a person over there
and we want to ask him
if he would like
to step on the scales,
but we think
he's outside
of our free speech zone,
so we might get in trouble.
He's protected.
Hey, Maddie, is free speech
our next issue?