Talk About Physical Education: Malaysian Report Cards to Include Body Mass Index

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Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post

If you want to make the honor roll in Malaysia, you have to stay in shape. While professional athletes in America tend to monitor their weight for optimal performance, Malaysia has decided to take it to the next level. Effective immediately, all Malaysian high school students will be graded on their weight, according to the Associated Press.

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Report cards will soon add a student’s body mass index (BMI) next to their grades to encourage parents to monitor their child’s health and diet. The policy is intended to curb growing obesity in the Southeast Asian nation. School cafeterias will also no longer be able to sell junk food and soft drinks.

(More on TIME.com: See how America’s children packed on the pounds)

There are some criticisms to this particular method: body mass index is often calculated by taking into account a person’s weight and height. While many people use it as an indicator of body fatness and fitness, it does not figure in different proportions of bone, muscle and fat.

Malaysian’s Health Ministry estimates show that about a quarter of Malaysian children are overweight, with 10% obese. Comparatively in America, nearly 32% of children weighed more than recommended, while 19% was classified as obese seven years ago.

(More on TIME.comSee if working moms are to blame for childhood obesity)

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