Forced To Be Physically Fit

   By drodriguez  Dec 01, 2009

College is a place we send our kids to get a higher education in hopes they will come out with a diploma and prospects of a rewarding professional career.  One college in Pennsylvania has changed the rules a little and added some requirements that many students are surprised to hear about.  Students who attend Lincoln University are now being required to attend a 3 hour per week fitness course if their body mass index registers in the obese range (about 30BMI).  Students who are obese and refuse to take this course will not be allowed to graduate.

Lincoln University's requirements are being met with criticism from members of the student body as well as people who do not attend the school.  CNN reports about one student ,Tiana Lawson, who recently went public with her gripes against the school when she wrote an editorial about it in the school's newspaper.  Lawson, who is required to take the course after finding out her BMI was in the obese range, explains that her problem with the new rule is that it does not require all students to attend the course and works to single out the overweight population. 

Lawson writes in the school paper, "I didn't come to Lincoln to be told my weight is not in an acceptable range.  I came here to get an education which, as a three-time honor student, is something I have been doing quite well, despite the fact that I have a slightly high Body Mass Index."

Chairman of the school's Department of Health and Physical Education, James DeBoy, defends the school's fitness course requirement.  He says, "We, as educators, must tell students when we believe, in our heart of hearts, when certain factors, certain behaviors, attitudes, whatever, are going to hinder that student from achieving and maximizing their life goals."

What do you think of the requirements placed on obese students at Lincoln University?

Do you think more universities should start programs like this or should the issue of obesity be separate from a college education?

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bdesarro by bdesarro | E LIVERPOOL, OH
Feb 16, 2010

How is anybody getting upset about this at all? They should not single people out and say, 'Hey, you're overweight, you need to do this program!', rather, it shoudl be required for every student. How can you disagree with something that is trying to help America be less unhealthy. Look around, we have a serious problem with weight. We obviously need educated in how to get healthier! I like what katieburr21 says, that's a very good way to help people out! We need help, don't take it personal!

eldapc11 by eldapc11 | SANTA ANA, CA
Feb 15, 2010

I do not agree with the school at all. These people are adults in college not kids in highschool. If someone does not want to loose weight they can not be forced to. When someone has a problem with drugs, alcohol, or even food they can not be treated or helped unless they want to. I think the school should keep the program as an option for only those who really want to attend the program.

mcgeegirl by mcgeegirl | Hollsopple, PA
Feb 04, 2010

I agree we have a lot of overweight students and adults out there. I helped in my 7 year old's gym class the last few weeks. They are learning the safety and how to roller blade. It was heart breaking to see about 8 children that were to heavy to bend down and even put on the skates. On the other hand my 14 and 18 year old high school students just had their BMI's and they both came back 90% change of becoming over weight. All three of my girls are Very Tall and thin. The two oldest are both swimmers, they practice 2-3 1/2 hours per day at 5'6" and 148 pounds and 5'8" 157 pounds there is not an ounce of fat on them. They would be very upset to think they were obese. Their swimming is something that will stay with them forever. I think it is very important to keep up sports.

katieburr21 by katieburr21 | Lake Charles, LA
Jan 27, 2010

Why don't they make it a more promotional type program? Maybe goal oriented, if you lose this much weight, we will knock this fee off your tuition or this % off your next round of books. It can be a give and take on both ends. Those that have the desire to stay healthy will be benefited.

radar525 by radar525 | McGuire AFB, NJ
Dec 29, 2009

I think this is a great idea. My high school had to cut PE due to fiscal issues, and that was 15 years ago. The local schools don't have PE even now. I applaud their effort to help these students become fit. Like picesgrly2, I agree PE should start earlier for today's children. Schools also need to look at the unhealthy food that they serve students. It can be hard to unlearn years and years bad eating and exercise habits, especially if schools and parents don't provide good examples. The money spent on developing sugary cereals and gummy snacks based on cartoon characters should be given to schools to pay for PE and health education. Parents should also be encouraged/required to attend classes as well on how to eat healthy and exercise. It's hard to change the way you eat and get motivated to exercise (boy, do I know that!), but imagine the savings in healthcare for your family and how much better everyone would/should feel.

mintaka by mintaka | LAKE VILLA, IL
Dec 27, 2009

Not everyone who's overweight is unhealthy. A fitness instructor at my gym is a good 50 puonds overweight but she works out for hours every day & is very fit!

piscesgrly2 by piscesgrly2 | GALT, CA
Dec 23, 2009

I think that it should began earlier in a student's career such as elementary school. MY mother and aunt are elementary school teachers and their students only have P.E. once a week for only an hour and 2 15 minute recesses. Now that school is cutting P.E. and music.

piscesgrly2 by piscesgrly2 | GALT, CA
Dec 23, 2009

ALthough we all need exercise, I think that what we eat is as important. I attend a college in CA. and I am currently on the "points" system at weight watchers. I cannot eat anything from my colleges' cafeteria except for sandwiches. They have nachos, fried foods, 5 cheese pizzas, hamburgers and hot dogs, and a little and I mean little salad bar that serrves maybe 20 people. They also have icee machines, sodas galore, coffees, high sugared smoothies, dough nuts, little debbie stuff and anything else unhealthy. I wish that schools at any level would have more healthy choices like already made salads, maybe wraps, more grilled things, healthy snacks like fruit and veggies and less already made goods. I think that exercise should be mandatory, but they should give reduced price exercise classes.

abslout by abslout | Hicksville, NY
Dec 22, 2009

I think that all kids should get into the habit of working out - 3 hours a week is NOT alot. I do agree however that obese children should not be singled out. Exercise benefits everyone and calling out only the people who have weight problems puts a stigma around physical activity.

krishunt55 by krishunt55 | Bunnell, FL
Dec 18, 2009

I think this is great. Obesity causes many problems. People are becoming less active and this is a push in the right direction.

JEM4612 by JEM4612 | HOFFMAN EST, IL
Dec 17, 2009

Also, for all the people who say they wish someone had forced them to exercise years ago, why not start exercising now? Moving your body is supposed to be a normal part of being human. Our bodies were made to move. It's never too late to start moving/exercising!

JEM4612 by JEM4612 | HOFFMAN EST, IL
Dec 17, 2009

I agree that eating right and regular exercise are a very, very important part of life and that as a nation, our health care costs are a direct result of obesity and people not eating right. However, these seems like one more example of our society making the individual not responsible for their own self. Should the college really act like the parent and force the student to exercise? Like others pointed out, do the students have access to healthy affordable foods? How many students know how to cook so they have some control over the food that goes into their mouth? Maybe this program will work for some people, but I am tired of the lack of personal accountability we are moving to in our country. This is a societal issue.

kbrownlaw by kbrownlaw | Chicago, IL
Dec 16, 2009

This is a great idea. But, I agree that they should also provide healthy food choices and classes to teach people how to eat better. My roommates in college had no idea how to eat right. I had to teach them how to make was really sad.

Kaykay0711 by Kaykay0711 | SCHENECTADY, NY
Dec 15, 2009

Though I agree with the concepts illustrated here, I think there may be a better way to approach the situation meaning more of an all or nothing approach, perhaps. The one thing I learned while pursuing a nutrition degree is that even if your BMI is not in excess or putting you in the obese catagory, many people do not eat right or take care of themselves. I think if the college offers medical insurance, the student should be given the option of pursuing an education including methods of maintaining a lower BMI or eating better. If the student does not choose to take the additional information, the college medical policy cost should be based on that decision like life insurance for diabetics for example. (my husband is diabetic due to kidney failure but regardless, he gets a higher rate, so, yes, I understand)

cookie48 by cookie48 | Indianapolis, IN
Dec 15, 2009

I don't approve of anyone being forced to be fit, a person has the right too choose the way their body looks. If they are uncomfortable with their body then they can do something about it. Choosing too be physically fit is each individuals decision not those of other caliber. Making it a requirement for graduation is trully an invasion of a person's privacy and individual rights, this should be anolled imediately