The Student Body full movie review - Fat Letters Sent out to School Children
This was an interesting small documentary by a young and I hope upcoming documentary film maker. In the USA 20 states mandate students have their "BMI" (Body Mass Index) tested so as to gauge their student population's "health".
But given that for anyone in the business of health it is known that BMIs are a useless number, that generally healthy and athletic people with good muscle mass register as obese with BMI as BMI does not distinguish between muscle weight and fat weight, it is highly surprising that any governing agency would take this path to assess the health of its youth.
But beyond BMI being scientifically useless, the government then goes on to send fat shaming letters to the students involved along with their report cards! In the documentary, the BMI of legislators is also assessed when possible, revealing that only three of the dozens of people the documentarist interviewed had an "acceptable" BMI.
This documentary spends a lot of time watching itself being made, like a lot of documentaries these days, rather than being focused entirely on content. Mind you, this is rendered necessary to reflect politicians' unwillingness to discuss public issues with the public. It does have some decent interviews with both pro-BMI advocates and doctors/health processionals who denounce it for its futility.
The issue of obesity goes way beyond an individual's mindset, it is a societal mater, how our food culture is structured, how our sleep culture is structured, how our work culture is structured, how our environmental quality has suffered, how global diseases impact health, how global issues are made visible at the individual level.
At one point, a pro-BMI advocate explains how great a tool it is since it is non invasive, quick, uncomplicated, and requires no blood test. But the truth is: Quality in, quality out (QIQO). If you develop evaluation systems with poor data, you get poor results.
All in all a very decent documentary.