Can (E)mail Improve the Effectiveness of BMI Reporting?
How information is delivered is as important as its content. We consider how various delivery methods of body mass index (BMI) information to New York City (NYC) families can affect subsequent student outcomes, including daily school meal participation and attendance in the short term and student weight and academic performance in the longer term. Importantly, we also examine post hoc a potential mechanism for behavior changes: whether parents in fact received the information. Currently, hard copies of the NYC FITNESSGRAM report, which include information on BMI, are distributed in NYC to schools. Concern has been raised that these reports may not reach parents, and furthermore, that school distribution may not constitute a “safe” environment for their review. In conjunction with the NYC Department of Education, we will consider the impact of a pilot intervention of two alternative delivery methods: 1) mailing the FITNESSGRAM report home to parents, and; 2) emailing the FITNESSGRAM report to parents. Our proposed pilot study piggybacks on the existing BMI and fitness report card program in NYC and considers two low-cost interventions that may increase its effectiveness