(AP) â” The Chula Vista school district not only measures the academic progress of Marina Beltran’s second-grader, it also measures her son’s body fat. Beltran supports her son’s school in measuring students because the data has brought in help to address obesity, which can lead to diabetes and other illnesses tied to a lifetime of poor habits. Other school districts have angered parents and eating disorder groups by conducting screenings to identify overweight children and send home what critics call obesity report cards or “fat letters.” Amid the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic, schools in nearly a quarter of all states record body mass index scores, measuring hundreds of thousands of students. Massachusetts in October stopped requiring schools notify parents when a child scores high after receiving reports that the data was not safeguarded enough, “leading to alarm, confusion or embarrassment,” according to the state’s public health department. “The current policies to protect student data are pretty inconsistent and at times woefully inadequate,” said James Steyer, CEO of the San Francisco-based nonprofit Common Sense Media, which reviews technology and children’s privacy. The local data is valuable to researchers who have had a dearth of childhood obesity information, and it can be used to pinpoint places that need help, said Dr. Matt Longjohn, an assistant adjunct professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Arkansas has become a model for how to do it, as well as Chula Vista’s school district, along with San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency, which also now records children’s body mass index scores, Longjohn said.