Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Should obese students be forced to take a special class?

According to this story on CNN, students at Lincoln University who have a body mass index (BMI) that is greater than 30 are being forced to take a fitness course that meets three hours each week. Those who do not complete this course can't graduate from college.

Is this fair? Is this right? Is this legal?

One student writes that she thinks all students should need to take the fitness course.

When I was a college student at MIT, we had to pass a swimming test (or successfully complete a swimming course) in order to graduate. This was a mandatory swim requirement. If you're attending a college that's next to a river like the Charles River, then you really ought to know how to swim.

So, returning to Lincoln University - what's going to happen? I think this new rule will upset some people, but personally, I think they should reconsider their BMI numbers. Instead of setting the bar at 30 (obesity), they should set it at 25 (overweight). Furthermore, those who have a low BMI (less than 18.5) should take a course on eating disorders, healthy eating, etc. BMI has its limitations, so I'm glad to see that they're also using waist circumference as a measure.

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