A mother has been left fuming after receiving the news that her sporty son is dangerously overweight for his age.
Four-year-old Harley Gardner was measured and weighed at school, as part of a British Child Measurement Programme, which measures primary school pupils to identify obesity levels in children.
The 29-year-old mother was sent a letter with her son’s results, suggesting that the four-year-old is overweight. They then warned her that he may develop serious health problems in the future, and that immediate action should be taken.
Mica Pullen claims that her 22.7kg son who stands at 111.9cm tall, regularly plays football, and practices boxing with his father every night.
“He boxes, plays football, does after school activities, he never stops,” the British mother said.
“I live a healthy lifestyle by eating well and going to the gym and I try my best to pass that on to him. It’s upsetting to then be told you’re doing something wrong.”
The results are reportedly based on the child’s Body Mass Index (BMI), which is measured by dividing a child’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres. This is then compared against a sample of measurements known as percentiles.
While Harley is the average height for a four-year-old boy, his weight is five kilograms heavier than the average weight.
“It seems to me that he’s been considered overweight by a computer as opposed to a doctor,” the 29-year-old explained. “It’s like they’ve just put his height and weight into a system and it has come back that he’s overweight.”
Pullen says that the letter made her feel like she was doing something wrong, prompting self-doubt and disappointment.
“I started to doubt myself when I read the letter and I felt like I needed reassurance that I wasn’t doing something wrong. I am angry I have been made to feel that way.”
Harley reportedly comes from a family of large men. His grandfather, former heavyweight boxer John L Gardner, won the British, Commonwealth, and European championships in the 1970s and 80s.