Print 35 comment(s) - last by shortylickens.. on Dec 5 at 7:17 AM

  (Source: The Sun UK)
Some of the overweight class body aren't happy with being told to hit the treadmill

Here at DailyTech we often report on medical issues.  One medical problem that commonly intersects with the world of technology is obesity.  With approximately 65 percent of Americans overweight, according to information from IHRSA/ASD, and with somewhere between 100,000 and 350,000 mortalities a year in the U.S. directly related to obesity, the obesity epidemic is reaching crisis proportions.  It now commonly infringes upon technology, both via the need for medical technology and by creating new design requirements (many transportation devices must be reinforced or otherwise altered to accommodate the heavier American population).

Now one college is taking a controversial stand against its student's obesity.  Lincoln University has given its plump students an ultimatum -- take a fitness course that meets three hours per week or don't graduate.

The university has began testing its students body mass indexes.  Those with a BMI above 30 kg/m2 must enroll in the fitness course.  The requirement was rolled out a couple years ago, but is just now gaining attention as the first class of students affected, those entering in the fall of 2006, will soon be looking to graduate.  To make sure those with overly muscular physique (which can give abnormally high BMI) don't get improperly singled out, the school also screens by waist size.

Many of the larger members of the student body are filled with rage, confusion, and/or frustration at the new policy.  Tiana Lawson, 21, an admittedly obese editor for the school's student newspaper, The Lincolnian, wrote a terse review of the policy, saying it is unfair to single out those overweight and demand they exercise.  She writes, "I didn't come to Lincoln to be told that my weight is not in an acceptable range.  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."

She concludes, "I'm never going to be comfortable with this class, but I think I would more understanding if this was a requirement for everyone. While I don't think it was the university's intention to make us feel excluded, that is precisely what they have done.   So for now, I'm going to bite the bullet and take the class. Not because Lincoln is requiring me to, (I actually passed the test) but rather, because I would like to be healthier. This was a decision that I made… and that's the way it ought to be."

James DeBoy, chairman of the school's Department of Health and Physical Education defends the policy.  He points out that many colleges have screening systems that single out those with lacking math or communication skills and make them take additional coursework to catch up.  He says that weight policy operates on a similar premise.  In an interview with, he explained, "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.  Obesity is going to rob you of your quality and quantity of life.  We believe that this is unconscionable."

The mandated course, dubbed "Fitness for Life", consists of activities including water aerobics, Tai Bo and aerobic dance.  Approximately 12 to 15 students still have to take the class this year to graduate, according to Mr. DeBoy's estimates.  About 620 students already either took the course or tested out.

Some students support the policy.  Brittnai Panton, a 19-year-old freshman from Decatur, Georgia tested out, but in the interview with, she voiced her support.  She states, "Being in this day and age where people are becoming overweight and need more fitness, I think it's a great idea to earn extra credit, an easy extra credit."

Some lawyers, though, warn that the policy may land the school in legal hot water.  States David Kairys, professor of law at Temple University Law School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "The part that seems excessive is forcing them to take this course, or to exercise three hours a week, which isn't a bad idea for them, but should be their choice."

He calls the policy "paternalistic" and "intrusive".  According to reports, the Lincoln policy may be the first of its kind in the country.

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humiliating discrimination
By tastyratz on 12/1/2009 9:43:13 AM , Rating: 2
Why is it employers cant discriminate based on things such as age and weight, but the college can?

While I agree obesity is an enormous problem in America mandatory fat camp attendance for your graduation is certainly obscene. I may not be overweight myself but this infringes on others who are. While you are free to attend any college you want, just as you can apply for any job you want - that does NOT give them the right to require it.

Had it been strongly encouraged and heavily promoted/subsidized then I would support it all the way.

This just screams bad press.

RE: humiliating discrimination
By AEvangel on 12/1/2009 10:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
Why is it employers cant discriminate based on things such as age and weight, but the college can?

Employers can discriminate on basis of weight. It's not a protected class or disability.

RE: humiliating discrimination
By Motoman on 12/1/2009 3:44:41 PM , Rating: 4
Yup. They can also discriminate based on physical "you must be able to repeatedly lift a 20 pound box from the floor to a 3' shelf" or something like that. AFAIK, that kind of thing typically is only implemented when the job clearly involves that kind of physical labor, but I reckon they could do it across the board.

Hooters clearly discriminates during the hiring of their waitresses such that they only wind up with women who look hot in hot pants. Granted that every Hooters across the country employs only women who are thin and pretty, one can imagine that such discrimination must be legal. And that doesn't even have anything to do with being healthy or being obese clearly being unhealthy. You can be a 5'6" woman at 110 pounds and be "hot" and not particularly "fit."

RE: humiliating discrimination
By wolrah on 12/2/2009 3:11:57 PM , Rating: 3
Go to Hooters at 3 PM on a Tuesday if you think they only hire the pretty "perfect 10s" most people think of. Those tight shorts do not look nearly as good when a roll and some cellulite is involved.

That said, I believe they should be allowed to discriminate on appearance because that's the point of going to Hooters. If there weren't the promise of attractive women in tight clothing, we wouldn't be there.

RE: humiliating discrimination
By Regs on 12/3/2009 12:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
Hooters is a family restaurant.

RE: humiliating discrimination
By Reclaimer77 on 12/1/09, Rating: 0
RE: humiliating discrimination
By tastyratz on 12/2/2009 12:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
While I disagree with the policy and act I have to disagree with key verbage you used. There is no demonizing or target group enemy thought processes. Demonizing would be like saying
"fat people steal food from poor people"

This is certainly a misguided prejudice that does not belong in our school system, but treat it as such. inflating it beyond distracts from the core foundations of the problem.

I imagine of course the students are required to pay for this additional course as well. I would find a chuckle if this was a forehead smacking excuse to subsidize their fitness program for a low budget.

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