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Monday, February 27, 2006

Nannies join with Big Brother

(Updated 28 Feb 2006)
  • Bill Calls For Md. Student Health Report Card.
    • wtopnews.com, 27 Feb 2006 (by Carol Motsinger, Capital News Service).
    . . . A bill in the General Assembly would require that schools perform Body Mass Index readings and diabetes screenings for all students. If the tests indicate a student is unhealthy, parents would be sent a copy of the results.
    [. . .[
    "(Students) aren't good learners if they're not healthy kids," said one of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Paul G. Pinsky, D - Prince George's, during a hearing last week before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

    "And all these other education bills that we have talked about are going to be meaningless if we let kids be sick."

    Pinsky added the screening results would be a good way to collect data on student obesity.
    [. . .].
  • Md. Lawmakers Considering Body Mass Index Bill; Bill Would Require Weighing Students.
  • . . . Lawmakers know they will have to sell parents on the idea. State Senator Gwendolyn Britt is one of the bill's sponsors. . . .
  • Officials weigh in on pupils' obesity; Bills would require weight checks at schools .
  • . . . Sponsor baffled
    "You can't be a good learner if you've got a bad diet," says Sen. Paul G. Pinsky, a Prince George's County Democrat and longtime proponent of getting healthier foods into schools. He says he's baffled by the fire his legislation is drawing.

    "Why do people want to block this?" he asks. "I don't get it."

    Pinsky's bill and another one pending in the Senate would require local schools to calculate each pupil's body mass index, commonly known as BMI. The number is a way to gauge whether people's weight is appropriate for their height.

    Pinsky might better understand the brouhaha if he could see the look on the faces of two Eastern Technical High School seniors told last week that elected officials were considering calculating kids' fat.

    "It's kind of like against basic human rights!" cried Katie McKay, taking in a high school basketball game in North Baltimore with her friend Ashley Anderson. The pony-tailed two of them look as though they've never had a weight worry in their lives. And yet, they're appalled.
    [. . .].
    • The story includes references to specific bills and examples of states where similar programs have failed to achieve the claimed benefits.
  • Worried About Kids, Md. Lawmakers Considering Bills to Tackle Health.
  • Motorcycle helmets back on assembly agenda.
    • Annapolis Capital, 26 Feb 2006 (by Maya T. Prabhu, Vapital News Service).
    . . . This year is no different. In the latest episode of the ongoing battle between motorcycle riders and the doctors who treat their injuries - some 23 senators have signed on as co-sponsors to a bill that aims to relax the state's current helmet law, passed in 1992, that requires everyone to wear protective headgear when riding.
    [. . .]
    So if the committee votes on the bill it will probably pass and then go to the Senate floor, said Mr. Stone, one of the bill's co-sponsors.

    If so, it won't be with the support of the committee's vice chair, Sen. Leo Green, D-Prince George's, who said he always votes against the bill because of the costs to the taxpayers who often must pick up the tab for medical care of helmet-less motorcyclists who crash.

    "It's not a question of freedom of choice," he said, "it's a question of who's bearing the burden for their freedom of choice."

    During testimony, Bruce Bereano, representing ABATE (A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments) of Maryland - the state's largest association of motorcycle riders, said there are 30 states that don't require adults to wear helmets while riding a motorcycle. Two of those states are neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware.
    [. . .].

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