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  (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.

Great idea, wrong implementation.
By therealnickdanger on 12/1/2009 8:34:10 AM , Rating: 1
First off, the Body Mass Index is possibly the worst "measure" you can use. I can't speak for everyone, but I'm 6'2" and 240lbs. That gives me a BMI of 30.8 (obese). However, I have a good deal of muscle mass, not fat. I run 3-5 miles, do 25 pullups per set, and bench 320 (max). I'm certainly no Aw-nuld, but if I'm obese, then I would probably have to look like Tom Hanks in Philidelphia in order to pass a BMI.

Second, requiring fitness classes is great - for NEW students. It should be optional for existing students to participate. If I'm going to pay $X0,000 for college and they tell me up front that it's required curriculum and I agree with those terms, then that's fantastic. If not... then I will quote Al Pacino from Heat:

"Don't waste my mutherf*cking time!"

By Brandon Hill on 12/1/2009 9:16:02 AM , Rating: 2
If not... then I will quote Al Pacino from Heat:

"Don't waste my mutherf*cking time!"

"You can get killed walking your doggie!"

RE: Great idea, wrong implementation.
By psypher on 12/1/2009 9:32:59 AM , Rating: 3
They use a waist measurement to weed out those like yourself that have a high muscle mass. Also, it only applies to new students. That's why this year is the first to have students that must take the class. they implemented it three years ago. That means this year, those freshman are set to graduate so they better take the test like all new students.

Also, people bash BMI all the time, but the fact is that unless you do have a lot of muscle, it is pretty damned accurate. I use myself for an example. I am 6'7" and currently weigh about 215. That gives me a BMI of 24.2 which is just inside the normal range. I used to weigh about 270 which was a BMI of 30.4. I can tell you that I was definitely obese. I did not fit into normal size clothes and was generally a fatty. I hid it well though, so people would just think of me as slightly heavy set. At 215 though, I finally look good, just as BMI would indicate. Now I just need to get down a bit further into the "normal" range and get my abs to show a bit.

I would have never thought I had 65 pounds to lose. I always thought I had 20 or so. I like most fat people was delusional about my health. I applaud this class although I think they should take it a step further and include a nutrition aspect to the class. While I did work out more, it was my major change in eating lifestyle that dropped my weight. People need to learn about fiber.

Now back to burning off that last 10 pounds...

By Yawgm0th on 12/1/2009 12:02:08 PM , Rating: 2
They use a waist measurement to weed out those like yourself that have a high muscle mass.
That's something, but it doesn't really address the issue.

Also, people bash BMI all the time, but the fact is that unless you do have a lot of muscle, it is pretty damned accurate.
Accurate in what sense? What does it measure? Nothing, to answer my own question. BMI is a measurement of nothing, and defending it is to defend nothing. Your anecdote proves this further. You cite a meaningless number as having a correlation with an arbitrary, subjective state (obesity).

They need to do a body fat measurement. Even the more inaccurate methods are far better than BMI. A simple skin fold test would be more effective.

Still, I don't think this makes sense as a mandatory requirement in a post-secondary institution. It doesn't make sense for the institution, particularly, since it will just drive away potential customers (students).

I could see something like this as practical in high school or even middle school, but even there it would be cruel and probably cause more trouble than it's worth.

By mindless1 on 12/5/2009 3:12:52 AM , Rating: 2
Then that's just you. MANY people who have led active lives have a BMI above 25 placing them in the overweight category when they are not overweight.

However, very inactive people it would certainly apply to and more often women since they don't have the ability to build as much muscle, and genetic ectomorph body types.

Stupid policy
By tmouse on 12/1/2009 8:49:18 AM , Rating: 3
I won't defend obesity, it's clearly a problem that has life threatening consequences for the individuals and economic impact on everyone, BUT this in no way, shape or form should be a "requirement" for a degree. This is stupid plain and simple. If Mr. DeBoy cannot tell the difference between the remedial needs of reading and math which do have an effect on the ability of a student to progress in their academic endeavors and BMI which in no way, shape or form does, they should get a new chairman (one with a brain not poisoned by years of steroid abuse). This is one of the stupidest remarks I have ever heard to justify more support for his department (have NO doubts this is ALL that this "policy " is for). It's not a university's job to ensure your happiness and fulfillment after you graduate. Now I do have obese members of my own family and I try everything I can to encourage them to lose weight, but this is not, nor should it be the duties or responsibilities of an university and making it a requirement is just a waste of money. Maybe next year they will consider enforcing plastic surgery and breast augmentation, since looking "hot" certainly can "maximize their life goals".

RE: Stupid policy
By Lerianis on 12/3/2009 2:05:39 PM , Rating: 1
Excuse me, but it has NO economic impact whatsoever. Yeah, I know: fat people use more medical services.... actually, that is a big fat wrapped in poo LIE!

Most overweight people when it comes down to it use LESS medical services than other people do! Proven by an NIH study no less!

RE: Stupid policy
By fcx56 on 12/4/2009 1:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
Excuse me "NO economic impact"?? How do you think I put myself through college as a server? It certainly wasn't the skinny people running up the tabs!

(I say this partially in jest and tragically with no laughter in my affect)

RE: Stupid policy
By tmouse on 12/4/2009 8:36:27 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry to inform you but your dead wrong. Obesity is a morbidly covariate underlying many medical conditions. Since we have social services that are ultimately paid for by public revenue any condition caused or worsened by this has by definition economic impact. I'm not talking chubby or chunky I clearly said obesity. It will have even greater impact under any form of national health care. Here is a direct qoute from a NIH study as part of its strategic Plan to address the issue of obesity.

" The most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 65 percent of U.S. adults — or about 129.6 million people — are either overweight or obese. In addition to decreasing quality of life and increasing the risk of premature death, obesity and overweight cost the Nation an estimated $117 billion in direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost wages due to illness"

Here is a link to the plan:

RE: Stupid policy
By mindless1 on 12/5/2009 3:16:47 AM , Rating: 2
There is a mitigating factor. Premature death lowers medical costs in most cases or hadn't you noticed how often the elderly run up obscene medical bills?

That obese guy who drops dead in his 40's from a heart attack, might have the fewest medical bills though if his health were monitored better, maybe he'd be more inclined to watch the excess weight. Chicken and egg perhaps, some make changes when they fall ill beyond some threshold and others try to prevent illness.

Fat b4st4rds
By Hieyeck on 12/2/2009 1:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
Every single failure of an attempt to defend the fat b4st4rds is just some sorry sap excuse - if you're fat, you're fat, "BMI is a terrible system" be damned. I know how terrible a system it is to measure healthiness first hand (BMI says I'm underweight and malnourished, but I'm more physically capable than many of my friends), but changing the measuring system doesn't change the fact you're a fat, unhealthy b4st4rd. Using exceptions to the rule as examples is by far the worst. There will always be exceptions. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason, because they're generally true. People who look fat people are typically unhealthy. True, some are big-boned, beefier, built like Arnold, or what have you, but it's still 90% correct. Even SCIENCE has exceptions - Chemistry is chalk full of it.

Hell, I think the college is already being too politically correct. They should've just called the course "Remedial Fitness 001", just so the rest of the student body can laugh them into succeding at the course, just like students taking remdial Math and English. The college is perfectly within its rights to defend its name. If someone was so lazy as to not even care about their own self-image and health, they're probably too lazy to do their job properly and that reflects poorly on the college which certified that someone.

Shut up and start losing some weight. Just because you're not normal, it doesn't make you special. Stop riding the gravy train of affirmative action because it fixes nothing and you're still a fat b4st4rd. Do or do not, there is no try.

RE: Fat b4st4rds
By johnsonx on 12/2/2009 4:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
CHOCK full dumb4$$

RE: Fat b4st4rds
By Hieyeck on 12/3/2009 9:10:42 AM , Rating: 2
Are you a spelling nazi, or just fat and insulted? Dis si a comment, nawt purtenin to b sum jurnolest.

RE: Fat b4st4rds
By mindless1 on 12/5/2009 3:18:47 AM , Rating: 2
We get it, you're a runt and fat people make you afraid of being squished.

Just say it
By Suntan on 12/2/2009 12:58:05 PM , Rating: 5
Tiana Lawson, "...despite the fact that I have a slightly high Body Mass Index."

Why is it that fat chicks can never come out and just say that they are fat?


By ZachDontScare on 12/1/2009 2:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
Its one thing to require all students to take X amount of phys ed. But to single certain students out is rediculous. And it has little to do with their actual field of study.

You know, I live in a college town. There's precious few college students whom I'd call 'fat'. Not by my 40-yo well-fed american standards, at least. And for the ones that are, making them take a fitness course - and in a lot of colleges that includes courses such as 'golf' - isnt going to do a damn thing. Obesity is a health problem, yes, but its not the sole determining factor in health.

This school's policy, I'm sure, is from some administrator who has a giant stick up his backside about people's weight. He/she probably has a giant personal image issue, and is forcing it on the kids in the school.

RE: Rediculous
By WW102 on 12/1/2009 6:07:14 PM , Rating: 2

Student Counterargument was poor
By Xavier434 on 12/1/2009 3:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
The student's argument that stated it is little different than requiring those who are behind in mathematics is fundamentally flawed. Nearly all majors both use and require higher levels of those sorts of prerequisites to master the course material. How many majors require that you understand how to keep yourself fit in order to master their content?

Beyond that, I agree with another poster who stated that it is not a terrible idea, but it doesn't belong in a college like this. Time and place people. Time and place...

By mindless1 on 12/5/2009 3:22:17 AM , Rating: 2
Then just for the sake of argument, where is the place to force obese people to attend classes or be held back educationally and thus, in the business world as well?

Ideal world, they wouldn't be obese but forcing ideals on them goes against what this country strands for, we're becoming a nanny society.

Taking the plunge...
By canttouchthis on 12/3/2009 2:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
I've read this site for years, and am now prompted to post...

I'm overweight by about sixty pounds, although I was fit and trim in my twenties. It is nobody's fault but my own. I often feel disgusted with myself, and with the wanton obesity I see around me, especially here in Michigan. I was raised by an obese mother back in a day when it (obesity) wasn't so prevalent. I feel that made me more sensitive to being/seeing fat people with all the looks my mom used to get. My point is that I know firsthand what it is like, but it is still no excuse!

It is a real problem. A deadly problem as the article states. As a nation we need to do something about it, because it is placing a huge burden on our health system. The responsibility starts with each one of us. I give kudos to Lincoln University for making the effort, although it needs to be more diplomatic, perhaps requiring all students to take it. We all have feelings/need encouragement, but the cold reality is that something needs to change. Perhaps a national tax incentive for being healthy? (God knows we need some tax breaks and smaller gov't.) I am no expert, but there has to be a way to get this problem under control. Maybe next time, instead of bailing out GM, the gov't can buy everyone a Wii Fit.

RE: Taking the plunge...
By mindless1 on 12/5/2009 3:25:02 AM , Rating: 2
but why can't they just offer the course and let people elect whether to take it or not?

IMO, personal choice has to be held paramount. Similarly someone who is obese won't be "fixed" by taking a class, it's still choices made thereafter so I don't see the point really.

Idea Misplaced
By AyashiKaibutsu on 12/1/2009 8:22:36 AM , Rating: 2
While not a terrible idea in my opinion, it doesn't belong in a college. That's something out of highschool or some sort of self help center.

For student Heajth?
By ancient46 on 12/1/2009 12:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
Or is it just a way to put tenured physical education professors to work?

would like to note
By omnicronx on 12/1/2009 5:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
That while you are required to take this course, you don't actually have to lose any weight. As long as you take it, you still pass, regardless of whether you have lost or gained weight. Not a bad idea in my books.

Uh oh!
By amanojaku on 12/1/2009 7:18:56 PM , Rating: 2
Being underweight is just as bad as being overweight. Anorexics and bulimics had better watch out for the new force-feeding classes!

this is unethical
By rika13 on 12/3/2009 12:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
while i would not object to a fitness class as a required course for ALL students, or as a optional course; discrimination against overweight students is as unethical as discrimination against any other group, such as blacks, gays, women, etc.

this behavior is also bad for business, as overweight students will simply go (with their money) to a different school that wont treat them in such a disrespectful manner

By eldardude on 12/3/2009 5:55:14 PM , Rating: 2
Good! Tough love is exactly what these people need. They are not "obese", they are fat. The size of interstate buses and they should do something about it.

The hell with the fatties!
By shortylickens on 12/5/2009 7:17:49 AM , Rating: 2
"100,000 and 350,000 mortalities a year in the U.S. directly related to obesity,"
Thats a pretty wide range, which tells me they might not really know WTH they are talking about.
And last time I checked there are 300 million people in America. This is much less than 0.1% of the population dying per year, from their own stupidity and laziness.
Sounds fine to me. I know some people like to go on about how all human life is precious, but frankly I dont care about a tiny fraction of the population whose survivial instincts are so weak they cant even recognize the lethal harm they are doing to themselves.

Also, while I agree Health and Phy Ed. courses should be mandatory for graduation I do not believe its the place of the college to single out people they believe to be particularily unhealthy and make them do extra stuff. Thats the kind of thing that leads to the slippery slope of Big Brother telling us how we should all be and then its one short step to an Orwellian future.
I believe people should have to right to be fat, and I believe they should have the right to die from it, too. They made their choices in life just like a drug dealer or hooker or insurance salesman.

Up next: Why I think they shouldnt even be let on the damn plane!

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