Obese Students Forced To Take Fitness Class To Graduate

Lincoln University of Pennsylvania is requiring obese students to take a fitness class before they graduate, DailyTech reports.

If a student’s BMI passes a certain threshold, the overweight scholar gets to add a 3-hour-a-week class that will learn them to exercise and keep away from the pastry aisle.

Jason Mick writes:

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.”

Do you think there’s merit to such a requirement, or is this mandate just an unfair cheap shot at a demographic that already has to deal with enough guff?

College Tells Overweight Students Take Fitness Course or Don’t Graduate [DailyTech]


Edit Your Comment

  1. masso says:

    I’d be willing to support this if they required it of everyone. Just singled out people with high on BMI scale just seem… weird.

    Mandatory fitness class don’t sound so out of place, but mandatory just on Obese people…

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Agreed. The problem is that it assumes being at a certain BMI index automatically means you are healthy. Well, this is not necessarily true. Why not just make everyone have to do some kind of physical fitness or health class and then everyone has some idea of how to stay in shape.

      On another level it also increases the stigma of being overweight because only some of these students have to do an extra class.

      • stevejust says:

        I’ll second that. I was thin most of my life, but by the age of 32, I’d gained some unwelcome weight around my tummy and love handles. Now at 33, I’m trim again and I’m taking exercise seriously. But it took a concerted effort.

        I actually kind of appreciate the sentiment — but the fact of the matter is it should be taught to everyone because sooner or later life, work, commitments, beer bellies, tend to catch up with anybody not making a concerted effort not to stay in shape.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree, it should be mandatory for every able-bodied person, not just obese people. The exception is, of course, when a person is a marathon runner, wrestler, etc. in which case their BMI would be off the charts due to the added weight from muslce mass.

      If you run marathons regularly, you don’t need a class to exercise.

    • AngryK9 says:

      It should not be based on BMI. BMI is not a reliable item to gage anything by. I know people that are essentially a solid mass of muscle, yet according to various BMI scales, they are “obese”.

      Make it all or nothing. Require it from everyone, or require it from no one.

    • Difdi says:

      I knew a guy in High School who basically got drafted into the varsity football team the day he walked in the front door as a freshman. He was simply HUGE.. The guy (as of the time I switched schools) was 16 years old, 6′ 8″ tall, and weighed 332lbs. And he wasn’t fat, he was a bodybuilder. But that gave him a BMI of 36.5, placing him well into the classification of obesity. By the time he graduated, his BMI was approaching that of “morbid obesity” despite the fact that he was less fat than some of the school nerds who rated as normal on the body mass index.

      I know he’d have been plenty pissed off if someone made him lose weight in order to graduate.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      Yeah…it’s not like they can accurately claim the health thing unless they’re going to target smokers, heavy drinkers, and other groups at risk of being unhealthy.

      And I’m *sure* college campuses aren’t full of smokers and heavy drinkers at *all*.

  2. Chumas says:

    I am not a blood sucking lawyer, but i think this falls under the clause of undue discrimination.
    sure, noone wants to be a fatass(myself included), however forcing them into a class in order to graduate both singles the person out and in cases of depression, can be more damaging than the side effects of being obese are.

    First it was the smokers, then the drinkers, now the fat kids.
    When the Bullshit Police come for skinny over-educated fuckups, who will speak for them?

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    They are sending the wrong message by only requiring clinically obese students to participate. They are saying that you only need to exercise when you’re fat, and that practicing healthy habits is only important if you’re fat. I think it would be great if it were required for all students to choose from a range of classes that can address individual health and exercise needs.

  4. kcvaliant says:

    Well my state is one of the top ten fattest states, so it would be a good economic boost for the University.. Actually I also believe that Universities and workplaces should give us recess and nap time also..

  5. lincolnparadox says:

    I wonder if they had a similar requirement for faculty and staff, if it would be considered discrimination?

  6. sleze69 says:

    “Many of the larger members of the student body are filled with rage, confusion, and/or frustration at the new policy.”

    Probably also chocolate cake…

    As much as I think obesity is a problem that DOES affect others through higher healthcare premiums, this university is definitely overreaching with this policy.

    • jayk says:

      I remember a study, that stated that overweight people and/or smokers are actually less expensive for the healthcare system as they die before the really expensive stuff kicks in for when you get really old.

    • dbirney says:

      Fat guy that doesnt like sweets at all right here. savory all the way.

    • Nogard13 says:

      Actually, it’s been proven that obese people actually cost the insurance companies LESS money over their lifespan. The reason for this is that most don’t live into their old age, where care and medications become the bulk of healcare industry expenditures. Since it’s the old people who cost the most, and fat people don’t get old, they are cheaper to care for over their lifetime than “normal” people.

    • sleze69 says:

      True that fat people don’t live as long but the bulk of costs associated with elderly healthcare is paid for by Medicare.

  7. rdm says:

    This is wrong. I know people that are much heavier than me that are in much better shape. It’s not just about your weight.

    • QuantumRiff says:

      BMI is horrible if the person is “big boned” or ever done any weightlifting or strength training.. I was called Obese by the BMI when I was a teenager, with 7% body fat. (damn, I would kill for that again!) It also gets very out of proportion when someone is at the top or bottom of the height scales.

      Not to mention, stop giving the students so much busy work to do after class, and maybe they will have time to cook, and exercise.

  8. ninja-meh says:

    I do think there’s merit in such a requirement. Being over-weight can be dangerous to the individual over a longer period of time and educating them about diet and exercise is important to keeping them healthy. Though I do think that maybe they should be given a choice to take the class because they are over-weight. That would probably be a better idea. I don’t consider it a cheap shot though I am supportive of the “It’s my sexy body, I do what I want” rule.

    Is this a private school btw? If it is, then I guess I’d go with “it’s their sexy school so they’ll do what they want” rule.

  9. Nidoking says:

    The worst part is that BMI isn’t a very good indicator of health anyway. Aren’t people like Arnold Schwarzenegger (in his prime, yet) considered obese simply because of all the dense muscle mass? Imagine being a school official required to tell your champion bodybuilder that he’s got to take extra fitness classes in order to graduate.

    • jayk says:

      Yes, as muscle is heavier than fat, people who do a lot of sports / bodybuilding are considered ‘fat’ by the “normal” bmi calculators. Though I believe there are specific bmi caluclators for people with a lot of muscle mass.

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        Nah, they tend to do body fat percentage calculation with calipers or the impedance thing where they run a current through you. That’s why if you ask a lot of body builders or competitive athletes they can say they have 4% body fat as opposed to a BMI of whatever.

      • Tomorrowmorrowland says:

        It’s true; however, as of a few years ago, the CDC didn’t have any good data on the long term affects of overweight/obesity due to high muscle mass. In short, they don’t really know if being a hardcore body builder is any better or worse for your heart or general health than just being fat.

  10. sardo97 says:

    i feel bad for them, but just because they are different doesn’t mean the they don’t have to do it, they should not have to do as much, just not the entire thing.

  11. FatLynn says:

    Why not require this for ALL students?

    • [MG]LooseCannon says:

      Why? That would be like requiring everyone to quit smoking – even non-smokers. There is no need to require non-smokers to quit, is there? So why would you require someone that clearly (based on the fact they aren’t obese) knows how to eat right and exercise enough for their body requirements to take a class that teaches people how to eat right and exercise?

      It isn’t like obesity is a personal issue. It costs society (that’s the tax dollars of everyone) in requiring hospitals, ambulances, jails, police cars, public buildings and offices, etc etc to be redesigned to all access and support for people that are far heavier than can be considered healthy. This doesn’t even include the increased cost of health care (which gets spread around in the form of higher premiums for everyone that has health insurance)

      I don’t see the problem. The University has identified a life skill that certain students lack, and has decided to make it a required course. If you’re obese because of a medical condition, I suspect a note from a doctor would get you out of the class. I took a lot of classes I didn’t want or need in college.

      • Darrone says:

        Why not have a program JUST for smokers? Shouldn’t they be REQUIRED to quit since its so unhealthy?

        Skinny people are always healthy? What about overly-skinny people? When you’re BMI is too low, its unhealthy, therefore they should be forced to eat!

        Now, we need a class of drug/alcohol abuse, obesity, smoking, exercise, nutrition, and about 100-200 other “unhealthy” issues in todays society.

        • [MG]LooseCannon says:

          No argument from me. In this case, however, you’re talking about a problem that has reached epidemic level (“overly skinny” hasn’t gotten that bad yet, if it does, then we can talk about making those people eat 3 hours a week mmmmm kay?).

          And lots of people *have* quit smoking. There have been laws passed (smoking areas single out smokers) and taxes levied that have greatly reduced the number of smokers. Many college campuses these days are *completely smoke free*. Other have extremely limited areas that you can smoke in.

          Are you saying that it’s OK to single out smokers the way we have in the past 25 years, but it’s not OK to single out the obese?

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        So why would you require someone that clearly (based on the fact they aren’t obese) knows how to eat right and exercise

        WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Just because someone isn’t carrying a lot of fat just under the skin doesn’t mean they aren’t carrying fat around their internal organs. Nor does it mean that they aren’t clogging their arteries or aren’t about to make themselves diabetic.

        It doesn’t mean that they’re eating enough, that they are eating the right foods or getting all the nutrition they should, it doesn’t mean that they’re exercising at all.

        Thin does not equal healthy. It just means you’re thin.

    • krownd says:

      Well, PE was pretty mandatory for everyone in grade and high school. I can’t see making this class a grad requirement a successful strategy, but definitely all is better than just you, you, and you.

      I think it’d just be better if they offered a course on handling obesity and then have healthier food selection (which is what my school does but i hate it) and some exercise things at the park, if they have one?

    • Scatter says:

      Because not all the students are overweight.

      Clearly these people need to be taught about healthy living otherwise they wouldn’t be in the situation they’re in now.

      Think about it this way, are they going to be more inconvenienced or embarrassed now being told that they need to take a class or later in their life when they’re diagnosed with diabetes or have a heart attack?

      • ShadowFalls says:

        Sometimes it isn’t just a matter of a person being overweight. A person could have a medical condition causing it. There is nothing to say there is anything healthy about being thin either. Some people just don’t eat much or at all, who which don’t exercise, but are still thin.

        There are multiple of things that make the BMI scale inaccurate. I know it is possible that you like many others have heard of the “big boned excuse”. But it does actually have a realistic approach. BMI only factors weight and height. Some people actually do have a larger skeletal structure that doesn’t actually increase their height. As we all know, bones actually have mass and are part of your overall weight. The more bone you have, the more you will weigh compared to someone else your height. Some people have larger hands, feet, hips, and broader shoulders than others of the same height. If your shoulders are broader there is also more muscle and tissue that has to be taken into consideration. BMI is a somewhat ok system that might work for the majority, but doesn’t apply to everyone.

        But, I can see the issues of discrimination are pretty clear. Just cause you are overweight you must take a fitness class? There are studies that show that black people have a greater risk of high blood pressure. Does that mean black people have to take a fitness and dietary class? The discrimination is so clear-cut here is is ridiculous. If they got sued for it, I doubt the school would win. Pain and suffering doesn’t have to just be physical, it applies to mental anguish as well.

  12. PickyPatron says:

    If you want to require fitness classes, require it for the entire student body. Just because the overweight student population is visibly possibly unhealthy doesn’t mean they’re the only ones. That freshman who binge drinks every weekend probably isn’t the healthiest, or that senior who skips meals all the time because she’s so wrapped up in her thesis. Young adults in that age range generally don’t have healthy habits anyway, and they could all learn or be reminded that exercise and healthy eating make for a better quality of life.

    • Preyfar says:

      Agreed. Promoting good health, better eating habits and more should apply to all students. I admit, I’m overweight in real life, but it should be a standard for anybody. Sure, a lot of the obese (even morbidly obese) students could benefit it, but how many skinny students stay up late, binge drink and survive off Hot Pockets and Doritos?

      When I was going to UMUC and the Art Institute of Philly, uh… that was just about every student I knew, skinny and fat alike. Some were just born with godlike metabolisms.

      • Keavy_Rain says:

        I got a few extra pounds, but you know what? I know plenty of skinny people who are completely out of shape.

        Policies like this should be for everyone or no one.

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      Agreed. I had a phys ed requirement anyway, regardless of major, at college. Actually we had to take two because it was like a 4 credit requirement and they were only 2 a piece. The only people who were exempt from this were student athletes that were on the school’s teams and people with a physical disability waiver. Although we did have one chick in a wheel chair that chose to take swimming anyway and skipped the waiver.

  13. Clayton says:

    A blanket policy for every student would make more sense, can you imagine saying to your friends, “I’m in the fat class next semester.” That probably won’t go over well. I’ve heard of people getting better insurance rates due to being healthier, but I don’t think that should cover the academic field.

  14. BuddhaLite says:

    What about classes for those with eating disorders? Or drug habits? Or smokers?

  15. Kitamura says:

    Merit? Maybe, but if they’re only going to make some people take it that’s wrong. You can be thin and be incredibly unhealthy. If they want to promote healthy lifestyles, promote it for everyone, not just those who’s look fat.

  16. Schildkrote says:

    I’m all for this, and I’d happily take such a class if my university had required me to do so. The “guff” that this “demographic” has to deal with is largely their own fault. I’d prefer it if every student was taught to take responsibility for their lifestyle decisions, though. If this were the case, I don’t think obesity wouldn’t be half the problem that it is today.

  17. dolemite says:

    Should be a few lawsuits on the way for this one. BMI is notoriously wrong, since it doesn’t factor in muscle, bone density, etc, etc. Not sure why the school even feels it is their duty to force people to take a class on something like this. Shouldn’t last long.

    • MrEvil says:

      Not only that, but BMI wasn’t even created to corellate body mass to health. BMI was a fomula developed by a Belgian MATHEMATICIAN (not a Physician) to corellate body mass with one’s social status.

      BMI is being used for something it wasn’t even created to do by someone that doesn’t know a damned thing about the human body.

      BMI is just being used by the diet and exercise industry to shame fat people into signing up for gym memberships and paying through the nose for all sorts of fad diets, or buying fitness equipment on easy payment plans.

  18. grapedog says:

    I think it’s great… These kids obviously don’t know how to manage their weight, or their health. I’m already subsidising their health care costs now somewhat, so I’m all for this plan.

    I’d love to sit around and eat bon bon’s and cake and candy all day long, but I don’t. I actually watch what I eat for a reason.

    As a side note, at least at my college, even a degree in liberal arts required two semesters of Physical Education.

  19. diasdiem says:

    What, that university doesn’t have kinesiology requirements in its core curriculum?

  20. Alter_ego says:

    When I was looking at colleges, there were a few that required some sort of fitness credit to graduate, and that’s fine. But, especially since BMI is not always an accurate indicator of obesity, and it’s entirely possible to be thin, and incredibly unhealthy, I imagine that I’d be pretty “filled with rage” at this as well. I feel like people are judging me enough when I go to the gym and inevitably end up on a treadmill between two perky members of the cross country team, I imagine I’d feel even worse about myself if I were forced into the “fat person class”

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      If you read more about the story, they do take that into account and also do a waist measurement specifically to catch the heavily-muscled people from whom BMI shows “obese.”

      I still think BMI’s a crock and that this is a bad policy (if you’re going to do it, everyone should take the class), but they are taking into account the problems with BMI catching the very fit.

      • Alter_ego says:

        Oh, well, that’s good I guess. Not that I would fall into the category of “so much muscle my bmi is unnaturally high”. But if I did, I’d be super pissed about losing 3 hours a week to this. I’m pretty sure that three hours less time a week would result in more unhealthy habits, since I would have time to cook dinner, and complete my realy coursework, and go to the gym on those days

  21. donnie5 says:

    I was required, at the University of Toledo, to take a PE class. I thought everyone was. Only a handful in our class happened to be overweight or obese.

  22. dbirney says:

    Simple put this should be a requirement for everyone. Being an obese person I can honestly say I probably know more about fitness and nutrition than most people. Of course I don’t practice what I know, which is my problem. I do try to eat well, I take Kashi lunches to work, I only drink water and tea. But I still fall eat to large a portion with home made dinner (which is not good for me to start). I know plenty of skinny people that eat nothing but fast food and potato snacks. That is certainly not healthy, but they are skinny so I guess that is all that matters.

  23. HIV 2 Elway says:

    If a student’s BMI passes a certain threshold, the overweight scholar gets to add
    a 3-hour-a-week class that will learn them to exercise and keep away from the pastry aisle.

    Yup, must be in Missoura.

  24. diasdiem says:

    It’s been pointed out a few times already that BMI isn’t accurate in that it doesn’t take into account muscle mass, bone density, etc. But let’s not kid ourselves. If you have a high BMI, everyone can tell if it’s because of all that weight lifting you do for football, or if you’re nearly 7 feet a tall and an axe handle wide across the shoulders. They can also tell if it’s because your just fat.

    • utensil42 says:

      But none of those visual judgments are really indicators of health. The tall, skinny kid could be out-of-shape and unhealthy and the short, fat kid could be in shape and healthy. Weight, BMI, etc. tell you very little. The real measures are heart rate, cholesterol, lung capacity, etc.

  25. heltoupee says:

    This is BS, because it’s based on BMI. BMI is a horrible measure of obesity. If we went by that, then you’d have to put most bodybuilders, wrestlers, gymnasts, etc. in that class. Measuring by BMI lists several examples of peak physical condition in the obese category, the best example being Arnold Schwarzenegger, not just now, but during his entire carreer. Hell, measuring by BMI lists me as (morbidly) obese, just because of my height. I’m 5’7″ and 230lbs. Yeah, that’s a little fat, but I regularly run 2+ miles in the morning, lift weights, etc. I wouldn’t consider myself “morbidly obese” by any stretch of the imagination, just smitten by genetics. Actually, if you go by BMI, then my “ideal” weight was less then I was in high school when I was very sick, losing weight like crazy, and, for all intents and purposes, dying. I was then diagnosed with diabetes, and am doing much better now.

    Best solution: don’t make the “fat” kids take the class, but offer incentive to.

    • Kasira says:

      How many people are bodybuilders? .001% of the population? Unless you’re on steroids or a genetic freak, BMI applies to you.

    • idip says:

      “If we went by that, then you’d have to put most bodybuilders, wrestlers, gymnasts, etc. in that class.”

      The problem is though… they are putting obese people in this class. Granted we don’t know everyone’s weight and height etc, I don’t think a bodybuilder would be complaining about taking another PE class, easy A for him. Also the article says they screen for waist size so they don’t single out overly muscular students who would have a high BMI.

      I think it’s a matter of overweight people not wanting to because like the obese school paper editor says they don’t want anyone telling them what their weight should be. And yet… she decided to take it anyway because she wants to be healthier.

      I think it’s crazy that this has been a requirement since 2006 and yet… just all of a sudden people are upset… obese people are upset because they put this off.

  26. veg-o-matic says:

    Let’s just bring back P.E. as a mandatory second major.

    “You’re majoring in phys ed? Alright stud, you’re out of my room. Seriously, get out.”

    But really, the Lincoln approach is all kind’sa shortsighted.

  27. grapedog says:

    I disagree with making everyone do it, because then you’re not actually getting to the root of the problem. They want to make obese people less obese.

    If you have 3/4th’s of a class as already heathly weights, the obese people they are trying to reach are going to sit around on the edges of the class like they do in every other physical activity that a bunch of skinny people are already taking place in.

    If it’s actually designed and structured for fat people…then maybe they can get everyone in the class, if they are indeed fat, involved.

    • halothane says:

      Exactly. The point of this is to make a statement that the way they are living is horrible for their health. You don’t make that if everyone has to go. If there is some way to identify other unhealthy non-obese people, than sure, stick them in the class too. The fact is, MOST obese people, smokers, binge drinkers, yo-yo dieters, whatever, ALREADY KNOW that their habit/lifestyle is bad for their health. The point of this is to force them to sit down for a few hours each week and face the fact that they’re doing this to themselves and that it needs to stop.

      • BluePlastic says:

        Yeah, that’s gonna work great. Put all the smokers in class for a semester too and tell them about how bad smoking is for them. Because surely they don’t know how bad it is or they’d stop. *rolls eyes* Overeating is really just like smoking and drinking in that you have to want to stop.

  28. burnedout says:

    I read about this in the Chronicle of Higher Education a week or so ago – the Daily Tech article has a few inconsistencies which I think makes the policy sound worse than it is. Here’s a link to the Chronicle article: http://chronicle.com/article/Lincoln-U-Requires-Its-Stu/49223/ But it might be subscription only for access. So, here is the first half of it – it gives better background:

    As part of the university’s core curriculum, campus health educators weigh and measure all freshmen during the fall semester, and later calculate each student’s body-mass index, or BMI. Those with a BMI above 30, which suggests obesity, must enroll in a one-credit course called “Fitness for Life” before they graduate. Students can satisfy that requirement if they “test out”—by subsequently earning a BMI below 30—or by passing a sports course.

    As first reported on Wednesday by the university’s student newspaper, The Lincolnian, some students and faculty members at the historically black institution have recently complained about the requirement. The newspaper quoted a sophomore who said, “It’s not up to Lincoln to tell me how much my BMI should be.” In the same article, a freshman asked: “What’s the point of this?”

    The point is to keep students healthy, says James L. DeBoy, chair of Lincoln’s department of health, physical education, and recreation. All Lincoln students have long been required to pass a two-credit course called “Dimensions of Wellness,” which covers array of subjects, such as alcohol, drugs, nutrition, and sexual health.

    While revising the department’s curriculum in 2006, however, Mr. DeBoy and his colleagues concluded that the university should do more to help students become more physically fit. The result was a course designed for students who are overweight. It includes walking, Pilates exercises, and fitness games.

    “There’s an obesity epidemic,” Mr. DeBoy says. “The data are clear that many young people are on this very, very dangerous collision course with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—health problems that are particularly bothersome for the African-American community.”

    Lincoln adopted the fitness course for freshmen who enrolled in 2006, but its existence did not cause much of a stir until this fall, when the university sent e-mail messages to some 80 seniors—16 percent of the class—who had yet to fulfill the requirement. In a faculty meeting on November 3, officials agreed that they “must make every effort to directly notify the remaining undergraduate students who have not made an effort to meet this graduation requirement,” according to minutes posted on the university’s Web site.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Nah, my original beef with this remains. They shouldn’t let anyone test out of taking a course that requires them to exercise simply by having a low BMI. If the goal is actually about getting and keeping people healthy and not just wanting people to be thin then they should care about the health of their thin students who don’t exercise.

      I’ll give them points for having that wellness course.

    • lemur says:

      Thanks. This is quite informative and shows that the requirement was not just added in mid-stream (so to speak).

  29. dulcinea47 says:

    That’s not what college is for. Kids should learn about diet, nutrition, and exercise at a much younger age, preferably before they become obese. If they want to teach that in college they need to teach it to everyone, b/c who has worse eating habits than college students, obese or not?

    (BTW that’s my dad’s alma mater.)

    • FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

      Yes, they SHOULD learn about that from an early age, but how do you think many obese individuals got into their lifestyle because of either a poor education or poor follow-up from the parents?

    • vladthepaler says:

      Ideally, yes. But given that they didn’t learn about health and nutrition at an earlier age, it’s good and appropriate for the college to step up with a remedial course. (Students whose K-12 math education was defecient get a remedial course in college too… shouldn’t be necessary, but it is.)

  30. grapedog says:

    I disagree with making everyone do it, because then you’re not actually getting to the root of the problem. They want to make obese people less obese.

    If you have 3/4th’s of a class as already heathly weights, the obese people they are trying to reach are going to sit around on the edges of the class like they do in every other physical activity that a bunch of skinny people are already taking place in.

    If it’s actually designed and structured for fat people…then maybe they can get everyone in the class, if they are indeed fat, involved.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      the obese people they are trying to reach are going to sit around on the edges of the class

      Because the athletic people tell them to get out of the way. The insanely simple solution to this is for the teacher to not let that happen. It’s not that difficult.

      If they want to offer health classes specifically for people who are obese, that’s great, but EVERYONE should have to take a health course.

      • halothane says:

        I sat on the edges of gym/health classes because forcing me to do an activity I hate and find embarassing for an hour is a moronic way to get me interested in physical fitness. It had nothing to do with what other people were doing.

        That being said, forcing obese people to do the same (humiliate themselves at volleyball or whatever) isn’t going to work. This kind of class needs to be more like an intervention for the unhealthy, not the “exercise and eating right is fun because we SAY SO!” shtick of high school PE.

  31. msingerman says:

    If you’re a “three time honor student,” why can’t you learn to not be obese? Oops, that’s right, because no one taught you. It’s amazing how so many supposedly smart people can’t make that connection.

  32. Omali says:

    I don’t understand why colleges would do this. I mean, a college is essentially a business whose product is education. Why would you ruin your public image and forego thousands of dollars, per student, who decide to go to another school either because they’re obese or because they oppose your policy enough to avoid your school?

    This would be like McDonald’s refusing to serve the obese. Ultimately you only hurt yourself.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Because for every person who is so offended at this they wouldn’t go, there are at least 30 people who really don’t care because they’re not being discriminated against.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      The public sees a school through its alumni, and they want physically fit alumni.

      Or maybe they are genuinely interested in their students and alumni being healthy, because obesity is a huge (snicker) problem in this country.

    • morlo says:

      Why do colleges force you to take general education classes, or otherwise waste your time in order to force into becoming “well-rounded”? Because they can do whatever they want–they have an endless supply of naive applicants who will pay anything for a piece of paper.

  33. Outrun1986 says:

    First of all the college should be focusing on providing healthy food for the students to eat, at both universities I attended healthy choices were almost non existent. I suspect its this way at many other universities. About the best thing you could get was a sub on white bread and the only choice of dressing was heavy mayo or nothing. The other choices were pizza or numerous fried foods. Since the students are living there and often forced into a meal plan if your not commuting providing healthy food should be the first concern.

    It does no good to teach students to exercise if they are not eating healthy, you can teach a person to eat healthy but when they go to the cafeteria and its saturated with nothing but pizza, cookies and fried foods then it becomes confusing because the school is telling you one thing but providing another.

    If the students are paying for this class then its absolutely discriminatory as its just a tax on the obese. I can understand the outrage. At the universities I attended you had to take health classes or gym classes, and there was a lot to choose from like bowling and archery but they were just classes and there was no other requirements. Your paying the university for your education so it shouldn’t matter what you look like. It sounds like the class is required or you don’t graduate which is utter crap. A better way would be to offer a voluentary, no cost class to those who wanted to take it.

  34. sirstevesmith says:

    Whether one thinks this requirement has merit or is unfairly discriminatory, Lincoln is free to adopt it. Graduating high school students can vote with their feet. If people have a problem with it they should attend a different school. If Lincoln’s policy detrimentally affects it’s application numbers or yield it will likely scrap the requirement.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      Well sure, but it’s the students who already are attending who suddenly had this requirement thrown at them.

      • burnedout says:

        It wasn’t thrown at them – they had to agree to it their freshman year. It was included in the application materials just like all the other requirements for graduation.

        • idip says:

          Yep. These students complaining now are the first freshmen class it affects… they started in 2006 when they adopted this mandatory requirement.

          So… they knew and put it off.

  35. vladthepaler says:

    That’s a great idea. At my school, I had to take an extra PE class because I couldn’t run an 8 minute mile. Determining required physical education based on a student’s physical condition makes sense, and is well precedented.

    • ninja-meh says:

      Wow an 8 minute mile? Most people in my p.e. class in high school couldn’t run a 10! Don’t get me started on the packs of girls who just walked the mile in groups!

    • idip says:

      In high school my best record for one mile was 5 minutes and 26 seconds.

      Unfortunantly that was years ago… can’t run that anymore. Then again… I haven’t gotten off my butt for years so…

      Perhaps I should start running again… I am gaining weight, ick.

    • DogiiKurugaa says:

      If any school I went to tried that I would laugh in their faces. At my best I could only do a mile in 10 minutes and I almost passed out because of it. Now with the work-related leg injury I have effectively making running even harder for me to handle… maybe 12 minutes on a good day.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I couldn’t run an 8-minute mile if my life depended on it. Then again, that may just be because I have asthma and thanks to a congenital heart condition, I can’t use an inhaler. The school I attended made absolutely no concession for either medical condition when it came to required phys-ed classes — not until I collapsed on the field and was taken to hospital, anyway.

  36. ninja-meh says:

    I think the dean woke up one day, took a walk around school, looked around and thought “damn there are a lot of fat students in this school! Something must be done about this!”

    What percentage of students at this school are over-weight!?

  37. grapedog says:

    Hell, they don’t even have to take the class if they pass a sports class of some sort.

    God forbid we require fat people to actually do a little exercise!

    This is an outrage! They should be allowed to sit on their asses and fester and grow and multiply!

    • drizzt380 says:

      Actually, yes they should be allowed to sit on their asses and fester and grow and multiply if thats what they really want to do.

  38. jsl4980 says:

    Yeah why should a score determine what class you take at school? That’s unfair! If I fail math I should be allowed to graduate. It’s prejudicial to say that I don’t understand math just because I failed at it.

    • burnedout says:

      No, if you fail a required course, then you haven’t completed the coursework necessary to complete your degree. In other words, fail math, don’t graduate.

      Unless you’re being funny, in which case good one, and I need more coffee… ;)

  39. Tim says:

    I agree with the sentiment that everyone should take a course, but I also agree with the university’s current policy. Obese students should be required to take this specific course, and all other students should be required to take other physical education classes.

    I went to a liberal arts college, and in the first two years, you had to take a PE class each semester (or do a sport each of the two years, but we literally had three sports). It was a joke at the time, and I don’t know if it’s still a joke, but I agree with the idea. There were many, many choices for the class.

  40. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    I have a few problems with this. Most of the people I knew in college (myself included) were generally low on disposable income. If you had the meal plan, well, the food served was not the epitome of a balanced diet. And if you bought food for yourself, it was usually food like ramen, macaroni & cheese, or pizza, all of which could fit within your budget. So, it’s all well and good to teach good nutrition, but it’s darn hard to practice what you’ve learned on a college student’s budget.
    The other issue is what a number of people already mentioned: the school is using an artificial standard, and not a very accurate one, for physical health. You want to figure out who isn’t healthy and “needs” this class? Pay to have each of your students given full medical exams and stress tests. Otherwise, give the class to everyone, because I’m sure everyone could benefit from a refresher in healthier living.
    Finally, it hardly seems fair to make one segment of the student body pay for a class that is unrelated to their major. If you want it to be a gen-ed requirement, require it for everyone. Even 3 credit hours is hardly what I’d call cheap.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      My college cafeteria had all sorts of unhealthy staples, like pizza and pasta. But it also had a massive salad bar and fruit bar. It’s up to an individual student to decide what is the best thing to eat in order to be healthy. Using the “but we’re poor” excuse doesn’t excuse the fact that students are paying the same amount of money whether they eat six slices of pizza or a salad. It’s about personal responsibility, and students can’t blame the college for providing pizza and tempting them with it. A head of lettuce is what – $1.20? I certainly ate as healthy as I could during college, and so did many of my friends.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        Unless its like our university who removed the salad bar and added pre-packed salads with no choice of dressing in its place. Students complained and complained and the salad bar did not come back. While I was there I witnessed nothing but a decline in the healthy options available to students… something about costing too much and using Sodexho as a food source. Food at college was really expensive when I was there and that was quite a few years ago (I was a commuter).

        I can’t remember if the movie we watched in management class was supersize me or another movie, but they talked about how bad the food from Sodexho was (I hope I have the spelling of that right). It didn’t take me long to figure out that the same company providing the food for our university was the same company in the film.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          *shudder* Sodexho. I hate that company. They supplied the food to my college caf. The pizza tasted like rubber. No wonder I ate so much salad.

      • wordofmouse says:

        I’d agree with this to some extent, but it really depends on your meal plan and the school you attend. I went to a small private school (around 1,200 students). There was a small salad bar, but the rest of the options were your typical cheap, institutional food: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza, dessert bar, chicken nuggets, chicken patties, etc. The only time fresh fruit was available was when they put out bananas at breakfast (for cereal).

        If you stayed on campus during the summer, it was even harder to eat healthfully. You had to buy the meal plan, whether you used it or not, but they closed the caf down and opened the “grill,” which had hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fries, buffalo wings, etc. They offered wraps, as well, which everyone thought were better for you until we found out how much fat and calories the wrap shells had. They also sold Stouffer’s pizza, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and related products. There was no salad bar, no fresh fruit, no cereal and skim milk, and no other healthy options.

        Friends at larger schools reported a much wider variety of foods, and more resources for staying fit (better gyms, better-lit walking paths, etc.).

        • Outrun1986 says:

          This is exactly like my university, they forced you into the meal plan, yet didn’t provide anything healthy for you to eat. Since your stuck on campus if you live there, its impossible to eat healthy if they do not provide the food for you to do so. Even if they had a class that taught you the right way and made it mandatory for every student it wouldn’t do any good if the options were not available.

      • Jaina says:

        Your experience isn’t the same as everyone’s experience. At my school, people absolutely did not pay the same amount for healthy and junk food.

      • kateblack says:

        In NYC a head of low-nutrition iceberg lettuce is usually $2.50, minimum. Healthier greens are $6/lb, minimum.

  41. kmw2 says:

    I presume they screen for alcohol abuse, and force students that demonstrate signs of binge drinking to attend AA meetings and have randomized blood alcohol tests? No? They’ve tested students for tobacco abuse and outlawed smoking on campus? What, not that either? Random seatbelt checks on campus roads? Lights out at 11, so everyone gets enough sleep? Quarantine at the dorm door for signs of flu? No, none of those either? I wonder why not? After all, they have to be healthy!

    College students are adults. Some skinny college kids I know have the worst eating habits on the planet, and are only skinny by virtue of good metabolism. Some fat ones eat salad every day for lunch. The class should be available, I’m sure some of the kids in it (and some of the kids not in it) want the information. Should it be required? That’ll be a big fat NO.

    • Etoiles says:

      Well put!

      Although I’m fine with “required,” as long as it’s required for *all* students.

    • idip says:

      My college required students to take so many hours on alcohol education during the freshmen year. If it was not completed you wouldn’t be able to receive grades for that first semester or enroll the second semester.

      We also had a smoke free campus. :p

  42. Coelacanth says:

    “learn them to exercise…?”

    Edit posts, much?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      That was on purpose. Have you never heard someone say, “That’ll learn them to…”? It’s supposed to be funny.

  43. princewally says:

    BMI is only valid for specific body types. If you have a large frame, it’s not possible to get it down to “ideal” levels without being malnourished.

  44. kjamesh89 says:

    I think its a great idea, I mean Obesity is a disease that ultimately will rob people of valuable years of their life down the road. I think its great that the school did this.

    For the record, these kids knew about the requirement when they enrolled, and many just put it off till the very end. And now they claim its unjust because they only have 6 months to lose the weight? Come on, if the girl is such an honors student, she would have completed the course already.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      “Many of the larger members of the student body are filled with rage, confusion, and/or frustration at the new policy.”

      It sounds to me like it is a new policy, not something these people knew when they enrolled. Besides, what if you gain weight before you graduate? And why not just make it a requirement for everyone?

      • idip says:

        It was mandated in 2006 with that year’s incoming freshmen, which are now this years seniors (the ones complaining).

        In 2006 all incoming freshmen were measured to determine their BMI.

        If they didn’t know why they were getting measured, they must have not been paying attention.

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          Fair enough on the point they should have been paying attention in 2006. I still think this is a dumb requirement in that it singles out people. Besides the fact BMI is kind of bull, wouldn’t all the students benefit from learning about being healthy? I know I’m on the low end of the BMI index because I’m skinny but I do not exercise regularly and survive on frozen meals and boxed pasta so I’m not exactly healthy I just have a fast metabolism.

    • jamar0303 says:

      Going in that direction, why aren’t students who smoke being forced to quit? That also shaves valuable years off your life. It just seems that hating one issue is more acceptable than hating another.

    • LadyTL says:

      I would belive that more if they would actually use real medical science to determine obesity rather than some random chart of height versus weight.

  45. diasdiem says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of fat-hate out there. Fatscists.

  46. tbax929 says:

    This is a terrible idea. There are so many other bad habits college kids get into, like excessive drinking, bulimia, anorexia, gambling, etc. You can’t modify people’s behavior by forcing them to do something. Is obesity a problem? Absolutely. But a fat person has never killed a family of four with his car just because he was fat.

    I smoked like a chimney in college. I don’t remember having to take a course to teach me it was bad for me.

    • soflaa says:

      yes but how are they really going to teach someone to drink properly for life when they can teach someone how to eat and exercise that is beneficial to them, if you haven’t seen a fat person kill a family of four you obviously haven’t been in a line at a all you can eat buffet LOL

  47. katia802 says:

    Okay, i have one question. When we get tired of picking on the fatties, who are we going to discriminate against next? Us fatties have to feel superior to someone too, you know. I could see it if it were a requirement for everyone, otherwise it is discrimination, no two ways about it. Yes, I agree that by the time you get to college you should know how to eat and exercise properly. However, how many college students couldn’t write an essay to save their lives when they start college? If it’s valuable knowledge, and will assist the students later in life, offer it to everyone or cut your losses and drop this stupid idea before you get sued.

    • soflaa says:

      obviously weight loss only applied to one category *gasp* fat people you can’t tell the bulimic to lose more so obviously obese people need to go on this diet called “not eating so much” because in the end they’re causing health care to go through the roof’s while collecting unemployment and disability cuz they can’t get off their couch !

      • LadyTL says:

        So just how many fat people do you know who are collecting disability? Oh and health care cost obviously only are risen by fat people and not by greedy insurance companies, greedy pharmacutical companies or docters giving extra tests and meds to cover their butts. Oh yes, its only the fat people.

    • Anonymously says:

      If you’re from the United States, the answer is Mexicans. If you’re a fat Mexican living in the Unite States, you’re screwed.[/sarcasm]

  48. bnceo says:

    You can add into the requirement that every student must take two gym courses. My alma mater (NJIT) does this and it’s not a big deal. It’s good for making people get to know the gym and see what it offers.

    But only making one type of student take it is not right IMO.

  49. MisterE says:

    What’s next? I bet there will be some law that states a fatty can’t eat fast food until their BMI is reduced to a respectable level. With the new federal health care coming, this will be a reality. This idea will also pick up to other colleges as well.

    • WillB says:

      Gotta get in that slippery slope argument before too many other fallacies take up all the space!

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Most other colleges just make everyone take a PE class. I don’t think they’ll bother changing it so that only some people are required and measure all incoming freshman.

  50. The_Red_Monkey says:

    In junior high we had the 20 min run on our track and you had to run it everyday until you could do 7 laps. It was not a typical track size so I am unsure of the distance. I had to do it everyday for 6 month and by time I left that school I could run 11 laps. This should be a requirement. Eating healthy and exercise is a life lesson that parents are not teaching their kids.

    And if a kid sucks at math do you punish the whole school? IF you are fat then you suck at fitness. Its the same thing, why do we try to treat it different?

    And on a side note I really wish people would read up on where the BMI came from and why its junk. Use a body fat scale to test them in private.

    • morlo says:

      But these are paying adults. At some point people grow up and become responsible. Otherwise once we have mandated insurance we’ll all be running laps again for government inspectors.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      That doesn’t follow. We make everyone take math classes. The only way you could ‘test out’ of a math class would be to take an actual test to prove you knew the material.

      If it should be required that everyone be able to run for 20 minutes and reach a certain distance in that time then doing that should be how people test out of taking a PE class not by assuming that all thin people are healthy. There are plenty of thin people who suck at fitness and couldn’t run for 20 minutes period.

  51. tbail25 says:

    This is flat out discriminatory. This assumes that ALL obese students have to be inactive fatties who don’t know how to eat well. This is bogus. It’s possible to be obese by BMI standards, and to live a healthy active life. What they need to do is force EVERYONE to take a class, and make it along the lines of Health at Every Size teachings. The government has done a study on this program, and show that it does help people, and that small changes(even if it’s not a lot of weight loss) can make you healthier. I was amazed because it advocates health over this so called BMI stuff. I don’t care. I’m obese, and I have no obesity related health problems. In fact, the only health problem I have is usually passed on from the women in the family, and being fat or skinny makes not a damn bit of difference.

    • idip says:

      Finally! a self admitted obese person (no offense) who doesn’t need a handicapped parking tag.

      • tbail25 says:

        I’ve never understood that either. Handicapped parking is for people who really need it. My dad has MD, and when I’ve seen an obese person using a handicapped spot, it infuriates me. Sure, some obese people are that way because of a valid medical condition. However the people who have let themselves go that far that they’d need a handicapped space have only themselves to blame and I hope that they do feel embarrassed for taking a space that someone else who couldn’t have prevented their disability needed.
        And FYI- I carry my weight well so that I look chubby, not omg that’s gross type obese.

  52. LostTurntable says:

    Isn’t that discrimination? Wouldn’t that be the same as saying that women have to take home economics before they graduate?

    I’m overweight and I work out five days a week. My BMI has gone UP because of it (thanks to my weight lifting regiment) so by their definition I’m fatter than I’ve ever been even though I’m actually the healthiest I’ve been in years.

    • idip says:

      Article says they measure waist? for students who … well read it for youself.

      “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.”

  53. dennis_k85 says:

    I don’t think its fair to require obese people to take a fitness class to graduate. I think everone should be required to take a fitness class, fat or not.

  54. Jaina says:

    This is complete crap. The use of BMI in this way is ridiculous enough, but if they really cared about healthy weights, they’d make underweight students take the class, too. I have nothing against some kind of phys ed requirement—there were a lot of fun sport electives at my university—but it needs to apply to all or none.

    Dear world: fat people know they are fat. They don’t need your ‘helpful’ reminders.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      BMI is definitely not the way to go; they could use BMI as the first filter, but then they ought to at least let students appeal and have their body fat percentage measured. Maybe they do that, it’s the only sensible way to handle it.

      • Jaina says:

        I think think of more sensible ways of doing it than allowing students to plead that they’re not actually bad like those other fatties.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i agree that BMI isn’t the best qualifier for health standards. the usual BMI calculators say my BMI is 32.6
        i’m not skinny, but my doctor agrees i’m not obese and that the BMI is out of whack for people like me who used to [before medical issues] lift weights and have a lot of muscle density

        seems like they could come up with a more realistic basis for talking to people about weight.

        although i completely disagree with this program on other grounds too

    • jesusofcool says:

      Lots of Ivies or near Ivy level colleges still have a fitness requirement – You either have to take 1-3 phys ed classes of your choice over the course of your four years or you have to pass a fitness test at entrance. Some also have a mandatory swim test.
      I also think this is kind of crap for a different reason – If I’m a student I’m paying the university to educate me. Not be my parent. If the university’s mission is education, I don’t see why physical fitness plays a part. I’m a thin person but due to health problems I’ve never been in terribly good shape or been terribly athletic. I eat right, and I support university’s providing gyms, fitness electives and nutritional counseling to students, but I don’t think it should be mandatory.
      Also, FYI I read somewhere on the blogosphere that people are crying discrimination in this case not just because of discrimination against persons of size but because much of the university population is African-American.

      • idip says:

        It’s about producing well rounded students.

        What good is it to teach them about politics, math, sciences, history… if they die of a heart attack five years later?

        Just because you’re a math major doesn’t mean you don’t ever have to take US History. There are some things “core requirements” that should be satisfied by all students.

        Educated people need to know that physical health is the NUMBER 1 priority in life. If you don’t have your health what do you have?

        There are a lot of people who don’t realize how terrible some of the food out there is for you.

        I don’t understand how students can go to a ‘higher education’ institution and yet… complain that they are required to learn the most basic topics… health.

        • huadpe says:

          Physical health is not the number one priority in life. There are many things I am willing to sacrifice my physical health (including my life itself) for.

          If I volunteer to fight in a war that I believe in, I am putting that belief in front of my physical health.

          • idip says:

            Yes… but even the military has physical health requirements.

            You can not weigh 300 lbs and join the military. There are also many physical health ailments that can prevent you from joining the military.

            How many times to we here people so depressed that they are so overweight and yet… they can’t run around the yard to play with their children.

            They have a hard time shopping because their weight puts too much pressure on their feet and backs.

            People can’t participate in ‘fun’ activities (rollercoasters anyone?) because they have heart conditions.

            If you get diabetes and maintain that you don’t need to be educated in the subject and you lose a limb.

            There is a difference in sacrificing your life for a loved one. I’m sure anyone would be willing to do that.

            But outside of that situation… if you can’t take care of your own body, yourself, how are you going to take care of another person you love. Health issues affect more then yourself, they also affect those closest to you.

  55. Anonymously says:

    Devil’s advocate:
    Colleges use job placement rates and starting salaries as a marketing tool and a measurement of their success.
    Assuming that employers discriminate against overweight employees both in hiring rates and starting salary, getting students to reduce their weight could help boost job placements rates and starting salaries.

    • idip says:

      Most workplaces are also starting to offer physical incentive programs. Walk-a-thons, on site gyms, discounted gym memberships, web resources etc.

      Why? To lower their costs for medical insurance. How many reports have been released saying that companies have to pay more in health care costs for obese employees then for ‘healthy’ employees.

      I have no doubt that companies and HR departments take your physical condition into account in their hiring practices. If not intentionally then subconsciously.

    • Anonymously says:

      I wonder how alumni donations factor into this as well.

      I suppose if the required coursework really changes the student’s life, they’ll be more willing to donate money to the university over the course of their lifetime or even leave them money in their will.

      If the required coursework just alienates the student, the university may as well kiss their donations goodbye.

      Without some statistics it’s hard to say whether this change will improve their alumni revenue stream.

  56. 32ndnote says:

    It would be more unusual if it wasn’t in Missouri. Almost all Missouri Universities require a physical class for graduation. If anything Lincoln is being lenient to a percentage of its students. I guess if you’re not overweight, you’ve essentially “Tested out of” the phys-ed class by eating healthy and exercising beforehand.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      Yeah but that assumes “not overweight” people are eating healthy and exercising. I’m skinny and I eat mostly boxed pasta and frozen pizza and the only exercise I do on a regular basis is taking my dog for a quick walk around the neighborhood in the morning. So I’m skinny but I’m not healthy. I find this is true of a lot of my friends, as well.

      I don’t have any problem with the idea of a university requiring some manner of physical education or health for all students, but singling out overweight students is not appropriate.

      • idip says:

        I think poor eating habits are a concern. Some people can get away with it, some can’t.


        Has a really neat map about the ‘progression of obesity’ in the country. Just about every state has a 25% obese population. 1 in 4 people are obese. That is a lot.

        I’m pretty sure I saw something in the news that said in 10 years over 50% of the nation would be obese. Remember right now it’s about 25%.

        I think either require the class for everyone, for fat people, or… wait 15-20 years when everyone is fat and the skinny people are the minority.

  57. rpm773 says:

    Before I read this, I thought this was a high school. Fine..whatever…we had to take PE and Health as a state requirement. These people have to take an extra health class..maybe that’s fair, maybe it’s not.

    But I think it’s a little different when a college requires it. Sure, I had some core requirements, but they were related to my field of study. Having to take an extra class due to some physical measurement is (I think) outside that scope.

    Secondly, at my college, the core requirements for your field of study were established when you entered the school, and held for the entire duration of your stay. You were grandfathered in. Changing the core requirements, regardless of the reason or the motive, is not fair to those in the middle of their studies.

    • idip says:

      My college requires a PE class for every student. I took Drugs and Human Health. Easy class. Another university down the road requires no PE credit.

      Regarding grandfathering course catalogs and such.

      These rules went into effect for those students entering in the 2006 school year. With one year left, and having known for three years that they need this course, they are now starting to complain.

      So since 2006 all incoming freshmen are being held to this standard. It is fair. The students knew what they were going into as they were measured their freshman year. If they didn’t like it, they could go to another school.

      • rpm773 says:

        Ah. I did not click through…I just focused on Ms Lawson’s complaint. Whodathunk there was another side to the complaint of a college student?

        I agree, it’s fair with respect to the core requirement/grandfathering aspect.

        And I’m not wading into whether it’s fair to make this set of people take an extra class based on BMI. But when one knows, going into freshman year, that one has 4 years to take this course or get into a position where one is absolved from taking it, I don’t have a lot of sympathy to her complaint.

        • idip says:

          Heh. When I was a freshman a PE course was a godsend. Easy A. I don’t like sports. I’m more of a computer guy myself. And yes, i typically sit on my butt all day. Lol.

          But I used to be on the track team in high school and we had practice 3 days a week. The other two days of the week I ran two miles after school, saturday I ran 2-3 miles and Sunday I rested.

          I was used to physical activity so I didn’t really see an issue with it.

          Even though I can’t run those times or that distance now due to my own laziness and lack of physical activity… I still wouldn’t have an issue taking another PE class.

          I am a history major though, and I’m terribly upset I have to take a science with a lab! LOL.

          • rpm773 says:

            I wish I had stuck with track after 9th grade. Not for the competition, but just because running is the cheapest and most readily available form of exercise. Who needs $60/month gym membership when you can run a few miles each day? Alas, I *hate* running now.

  58. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I find it odd that they haven’t required a physical education class of all of their students in the first place. Why is this new?

    The problem isn’t that they’re making people with high BMIs take this class it’s that they’re allowing people with low BMIs to get out of taking any kind of exercise class.

    • idip says:

      It’s new because they started the requirement for 2006 incoming freshmen. So this is the first graduating class that it affects.

  59. grapedog says:

    If you force everyone to take the class, the fat people are just going to hang around the edges like they do in every other physical activity involving skinny people and fat people.

    Everyone can think back to those phys ed classes, all the NOT-fat people who hung around in small groups together at the edge of whatever activity was taking place…

    Yeah…that worked so well in high school.

  60. skipjack says:

    I’m a fat guy. I’ve been at the same weight since I played football in High School. I had to take health and wellness classes in college, but that was mandatory for everyone. It’s not all that hard to pass a bowling, racquetball, golf, etc glass.

    However, as a fat guy, I don’t see the need to single anyone out and force only them to take a certain style class because of how they look. I would have the same feelings if I were skinny.

  61. isaidnoonions says:

    I used to be fat and I have no sympathy anymore. I lost 110 lbs. It took determination, and extremely hard work. I think these students can handle 3 hours A WEEK. Quit babying them. Schools help people in ways that they need it. And the obese need help with exercise.

    • morganlh85 says:

      I disagree – stop PARENTING them. They are students, not toddlers, and the schools job is to educate them and nothing more.

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

        Is the school not educating them by teaching them how to not be fat (pardon my split infinitive)?

      • idip says:

        Obviously parenting didn’t work for them.

        And they are students yes… they are supposed to learn. Learning about proper physical health, good eating habits, and physical activity is their “job”.

        The school is to teach them that knowledge.

        • ktjamm says:

          Knowledge yes, single them out no.
          Should they mandate that all student partents take a parenting class?
          all smokers & bulimics take a health class?
          where do you stop?
          General required health class = good. Mandatory for select students because of weight = not good.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I used to be fat and I have no sympathy anymore.

      Ah, so you’re *that guy*.

  62. FerretGirl says:

    Well, if one is going for the idea that all obesity is caused by lack of understanding of proper diet and exercise, this excerpt from the original article would make sense;

    “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.”

    It would make MORE sense if you had all students entering the university pass some kind of physical fitness test along with the other entrance exams. Those that didn’t pass would take the course regardless of BMI/waist ratio. If we did this I would suggest a basic personal finance entrance exam too. “Fatties mess up our country!” Yeah? How about people who don’t understand debt and personal finances? Fix that too.

    • coren says:

      Except that in general, the assumption is you need those math and (I assume) writing/presenting skills in the real world. Or you’re supposed to. And if you don’t have those skills, one can generally assess this and figure out how to remedy the lack.

      While I can see obesity potentially being caused by lack of skills/information, how would you determine that? Only the obese people who don’t know why they’re obese take the class? And how do you know that the dude who’s thin as a rail isn’t making equally poor choices, just in the opposite direction?

  63. tchann says:

    I was required to show that I knew how to swim in order to graduate college. Stupid? Yes. Just like this is.

    Honestly, they should just add it as a required course for all students and be done with it.

  64. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    Exercise is good for all people. I don’t see why people are dead set against it. Maybe they should also have an eating class about nutrition (I say as I cram my third slice of Uno’s Deep Dish goodness into my gullet).

    • zombies.like.lattés.too says:

      exercise IS good for all people. So why are they segmenting the population required to exercise to only those with high BMI’s?

  65. summerbee says:

    At my college, everyone was required to take FOUR SEMESTERS of gym. I took three of Karate and two of yoga. If I remember correctly, each gym class was 0 credits — but the average class was an hour long & held three times per week. Yes, it was pretty annoying and many of us complained about it…especially because anyone involved in college athletics was pretty much exempt from this requirement.

    I can understand an approach where some students “test out” of gym if they prove that they’re already involved in a sport or maybe even intramurals, but basing it on weight alone doesn’t seem fair. For the record, I weigh in at 110 on a good day and I’m VERY out of shape. Heck, I could use a dedicated gym class to get in shape…but because I’m not fat, I’d be overlooked by Missouri’s system.

  66. summerbee says:

    Yeah, and I should’ve taken math, too.

    3 + 2 = 5.

  67. El-Brucio says:

    I think physical education stopped being mandatory by grade ten for me, which is a shame. Of course, at the time, I was an unathletic geek, and was more than happy to be able to leave that behind, which is a shame on the people who taught physical education, because it emphasized dexterity and team sports, which really made the whole experience rather unpleasant for people lacking in those areas.

    I also remember them concentrating quite heavily on avoiding drugs, but not on proper nutrition.

    But I do think colleges classes like this are a good step in the right direction. What I would like to see are mandatory *exercise* classes for students from grade school all the way through college. Let people try out some kind of exercise activity they might find enjoyable, even if it’s only listening to music while walking on a treadmill.

  68. Jabberkaty says:

    Honestly? I think it’s just a way for the school to justify their incredibly expensive fitness equipment.

    I went to school in Farmington, ME, all students were required to take a fitness class as part of their “gen ed” program. I thought it was ridiculous that students had to take it. I can’t remember how much courses cost, but it was a 3 credit course which adds up to insanely expensive no matter how you look at it.

    It burns me that they can do this when it has nothing to do with why most people are attending school to begin with.

    The fact that they’re singling students at this school out is even worse.

  69. Andrew360 says:

    It’s a stupid policy, even though being skinny and beautiful (and wearing low cut tops) could help you land a job. It’s wrong to single out people based on their BMI, how does the college even know that? Why should they know that information?

    Has it been proven that people with an “acceptable” BMI have higher IQ’s? Just curious.

  70. Miraluka says:

    While I don’t see this as a bad thing in principle, what people are going to complain about is being singled out. If they make it mandatory for all students for graduation there wouldn’t be such a fuss.
    And frankly, people could use a little more exercise.
    I went to a school where I was required to take 6 semesters of PE courses in order to graduate. Varsity athletes were given exceptions for the semesters in which their season took place. Students of intercollegiate club sports were also exempt during their competitive seasons. When I say exempt, I mean they would receive PE credits for that semester based upon their athletic participation.

    And really, who wouldn’t want to take a PE course? It’s an easy A. You get to choose from courses like general health & wellness, to sport specific courses, to nutrition, to yoga. Personally I think this should be a requirement for all schools, maybe not 6 full semesters, though.

    • EWU_Student says:

      The article that I read about this issue stated that the “persons of size” had to either lose some weight, or take a nutrition class. The post states that the class will “learn them to exercise”, it may not be a PE class.

      Every college has some graduation requirements that would seem senseless. I was required to take a “Chicano Studies” class, I go to school about 100 miles from the Canadian border.

    • floraposte says:

      I agree with the problem being the inconsistency. Maybe allow people to test out of the requirement if they’re participating in a sport or meet another condition, but otherwise put everybody in a fitness-for-life course. Plenty of them are unfit even if they’re not obese, and plenty of them will be even less fit later on. Why not make this a positive rather than a punitive thing?

    • LadyTL says:

      Try doing any kind of exercise class when you have back and knee problems. That’s why I always refused to do anything in my gym classes. There is sometimes good reasons for not taking a gym class. Now if they let me walk around the block during that period i would have been fine.

      • Coelacanth says:

        Yoga might be one solution for you. Increase core muscle strength and flexibility. There are several different types out there, some specifically catered to people with physical injuries and limitations.

        • floraposte says:

          Yup. Bad back, bad knees (surgery on both), love my yoga. Which actually makes both of them a lot better, as well.

  71. illusionmajik says:

    This really angers me. Not all obese folks are that way due to “sitting on their lazy butts, eating cheetos, and watching The Simpsons.” Some times (Like in my case), it’s due to medical issues and life.
    Personally, I work full time, go to school, and deal with the varied sundries of married life.
    Then you throw in the laundry list of medical issues and the pills I gotta take for it. PCOS, Thyroid removal, severe sleep disorder, and a couple of other things… All of the medications I’m on for these problems caused weight gain. (Especially the anti-psychotics used for the sleep disorder. I went on them and gained 20 lbs in about a month and my routine/diet/exercise/sleep stayed the same).
    I work out and exercise, Not that the exercise seems to do anything. My stamina always stunk and now it’s worse. I eat right. But I’m still a fattie.
    It’s not always the cheetos.

    • kateblack says:

      It makes me livid when people single out fat people and blame all their ills on “personal responsibility.”

      It’s the same kind of meanspirited prejudice that is common to rape survivors and women who have abortions. “She should’ve taken personal responsibility. Then she wouldn’t be in this mess.” It’s a means for small-minded people to control others through shame, and justify unfair treatment.

      And of course, those who fingerpoint and blame people for not exercising (whether that is or isn’t accurate) or eating poorly, rarely or never step in with solutions. I haven’t seen anyone in the US offering free gym access for people who want to get into better shape but can’t afford it. I haven’t seen anyone offering cheaper access to medical care and preventative medicine in this country. Nor do I see an end to corn subsidies or lots of healthy, affordable food sources opening in food deserts. (I live in one.) It’s easy to tell people what to do, but if they don’t have the means to do it, rhetoric means nothing.

  72. BridgetPentheus says:

    They come to school for an EDUCATION which means you learn about everything. Obviously someone didn’t teach you very well if you are OBESE (which to that genius college newspaper writer isn’t a slightly high BMI, it’s a very HIGH BMI) So if you can’t get them to work out then teach them that being obese is what is causing health care costs to spiral out of control in this country, that they should be advocating for cheaper healthy food and not 5 burgers off the dollar menu because it’s cheaper. I didn’t get to skip the calculus part of my major even though I knew I was bad at it and would never use it but it was part of my EDUCATION. I loved taking gym classes at my school, I regular set time for exercise with a group of people, great motivation. So make everyone take it. Simple.

    • LadyTL says:

      Oh, yes. It us fat people driving up costs, not the insurance companies or the prescription medicine companies, or docters having people take unnessesary tests and meds at all…

      Try actually doing some research before spouting off. The BMI index or any height versus weight chart is about as good at telling if a person is healthy as looking at a picture of someone will tell you if they have AIDS.

  73. TheRealMarySue says:

    Jeez, did you have to use a headless fattie picture? Tacky.

    Please take a little time to look at The BMI Illustrated Project to see what, exactly, ‘obese’ people look like according to the Body Mass Index.

    • Wriz says:

      I’m sorry, but I agree with the majority (>90%) of the BMI classifications shown in that slideshow. The people shown appear to be average Americans. Meaning, too little exercise and too much caloric intake. Many of them are carrying extra weight around the waist and/or thigh area. That’s rarely healthy. Though, to be honest, the underweight ones shown bother me more. I can’t really say why, they just do.

      Now, I am by no means saying that BMI is perfect. Far from it. I’m an athlete on the US Skeleton and Bobsled team. I’m 4lbs shy of being classified as “overweight.” Many of my fellow athletes are probably already there. Are any of us unhealthy because of this? No, I wouldn’t say so. We train for hours a day. Most of that extra weight is muscle.

      Oh and no, I do not agree at all with the people who say that weight is beyond some people’s control. Genetics, lifestyle, cultural background…they all INFLUENCE weight, not control it directly. My brother is 3 years younger than me; He’s the same height, has the same build, was raised in the same family, exposed to the same foods. He’s now considerably heavier than me. Why? He chooses to take in more calories than he expends. That’s it. Take a look at any number of starving cultures around the globe if you need more proof of how it works.

      This brings me back to why I agree with the BMI classifications in the slides. Only a few of those people are actually athletes. When you’re around athletes for 10+ years(HS/College/International), you can easily spot good weigh vs bad weight. For the majority of the US population, the BMI is “close enough” to be statistically accurate.

      Don’t have money for healthier food choices? Cut back on portion size. Don’t have the time to exercise? Doesn’t take any time at all to simply NOT eat more than you need. It takes willpower and discipline.

      • LadyTL says:

        You say it is so easy to just not eat. Have you ever actually felt what it is like to feel real hunger? It is not fun, you get sick, get dizzy, get headaches. Never mind starving yourself usually causes you to gain wieght as it kicks in the body’s defenses against starvation.

        • Wriz says:

          Actually, I never said that it is easy to not eat. I said it takes no extra time to not eat more than you need. Yes, I have felt real hunger. I had food poisoning this summer and couldn’t keep anything solid down for three days. I’m talking nothing but fluids. When I stood up for more than a couple minutes at a time, I’d start to black out. Not fun.

          Also, yes, I do realize that when you starve yourself your metabolism slows and your body attempts to store more energy in the liver and as fat stores. However, I never said to starve yourself and you WILL still lose weight if your caloric intake is lower than your caloric expenditure.

  74. FilthyHarry says:

    I don’t think there is merit to this. By going by the BMI its clear they’re not concerned about fitness or health as much as they are concerned about looking good.

    Fact is, someone with a BMI over 30 can be very fit and healthy.

    If they’re concerned, make the fitness course a part of the general curriculum and if they pass it, as they’re required for all their other courses, they’re good to go, regardless of their BMI.

    • zombies.like.lattés.too says:

      Exactly. I took fitness classes voluntarily in college and loved them. I lost fat but gained muscle, so my weight stayed exactly the same. My BMI therefore had not changed, but I was in much better shape by the end of the semester.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        So how does exercise harm these folks who are so badly cheated by the BMI calculation? Sounds like it worked great for you.

        It’s not like they’ll be denied graduation if they don’t lose weight/decrease BMI. They just have to work out. If you’re already “not fat just muscular” then you can just take advantage of the chance to work out and get even more buff.

        That said, it should be required for everybody! Otherwise it looks like it’s mean to the overweight folks, who DO get enough crap for their weight already. And who wouldn’t benefit from a little exercise?

        /My BMI is just a hair above “underweight”

    • friendlynerd says:

      Exactly. BMI has absolutely no adjustment for short, relatively muscular people like myself. Going by BMI I’m just slightly obese – which is ridiculous. I’m not.

  75. BrazDane says:

    Actually, this is not such a bad idea. And this comes from someone who would probably be required to take such a s course, if my college had this policy, and I hate exercise.

    When a student has a problem academically, the college will try to help with that, whether it is in math or any other subject. The idea is that in college you learn for life. The courses you take will ideally help you get a good job and take care of yourself and your family.

    When the college requires you to take a fitness course it is really trying to look out for your best interests. Obesity has been linked to countless diseases and health problems which can/will lower your quality of life and affect your ability to work and support yourself and your family.
    Some might object to be singled out for their weight – many overweight people are very sensitive about it – but in reality the college is just trying to help. Whether it will really help is debatable, since most people can find a way to sabotage things they don’t want to do. For many overweight people I think counseling might be as effective or even more effective. After all, people overeat for a reason, unless it is strictly medically related, and that is not very frequently, I think.

  76. pixiegirl says:

    Well if they do that I sure hope that they are making everyone who’s underweight take a class where they shove food down their throats and make them keep it down. Seriously I think it’s unfair to select a group of people and then tell them that they need to take a fitness class in order to graduate. It would be one thing if they required all of their students x amount of P.E. credits to graduate, but to hand pick people is another story. If people don’t like that requirement they can go to school somewhere else.

    • Wombatish says:

      Not to mention make them pay for it D: Even one course at University isn’t cheap.

      Also, am I the only one dissapointed that a school that describes itself as “traditionally black” all over it’s website is trying this? That just makes it even more discriminatory.

  77. JohnDeere says:

    not fair unless everyone has to do it. otherwise its discrimination. i ♥ big chicks.

  78. The_Geb says:

    I’ve got to say as someone who was obese in college and for a couple years after I wish this had been a requirement at my school. I could have become a healthier happier individual earlier…

  79. nodaybuttoday says:

    Completely agree with FilthyHarry, there are plenty of unhealthy skinny people and exercise would be beneficial to any unhealthy person. Physical education is also a requirement in many state schools, so maybe it should be something implemented with ALL students of ALL sizes.

  80. korybing says:

    I’m of mixed feelings. While I’m all for obese people exercising, forcing it on students and not letting them graduate seems like an unnecessary singling out of a certain group of students. Are underweight kids forced to take nutrition classes too?

    I don’t know, I’m usually for anything that facilitates exercise and an attempt to slim down the country, but this doesn’t seem to be the way to do it.

    Also: Rah rah Missouri, the classiest of all 50 states! Jefferson City is a massively hilly town, if you want your students to lose weight so much you could always ban cars from the campus and make everybody walk to class (I’m sure that will go over just as well as the “no-degree-for-fatties” policy).

  81. d says:

    Considering that most people in Missouri are lard asses, and I believe they were recognized for it in a magazine recently, that’s not a bad thing.

    What’s unfortunate is that a University has to waste their time with this bullshit. Why the elementary and high schools aren’t dealing with it is beyond me.

    Simple solution for kids to lose weight? Unless they’re physically disabled somehow – let the little rat bastards walk to school. No matter how long the distance. Get your ass up and hoof it. Rain, shine, snow, sleet, cold, hot – move your ass. Burn those calories.

    I walked every damn day in grade school, rode a 10-speed in high school, and hoofed it/rode a bike in college – I was in GREAT shape despite eating burgers for lunch every day (while I walked between classes). Once I moved into corporate world and slothed out, I put on the pounds… Walking and exercising fixed that for me…

    Nip the problem in the bud – get ’em moving their asses when they’re young and all this medical bullshit and costs goes by the wayside

  82. BradenR says:

    It’s way overdue. Can we also include a six week seminar on how bad health affects the national budget? How about brain scans to show their future dementia? It’s pretty bad when the average six year old has the arterial plaques of a 45 year old smoker and this has to come to a halt. Now if only we could set everyone’s cost or co-pay by the health choices that they make. I really don’t care if someone wants to be a fat slob, refuses to exercise, smokes, etc. but I am more than a little angry that I am paying the bills for their stupidity.

    • Wombatish says:

      OK, but every student with financial problems has to take a finance class.
      And every student from an abusive background has to take some kind of dealing with the pain class.
      And every student who is sexually active needs a safe sex class.
      Every student with a mortgage/home needs a responsible homeowner class.
      Every student who drinks needs a class about alcoholism.
      Every rape victim (won’t singling them out be fun?) needs a self defense class.
      Every student who does drugs needs a drug education class.
      Every diabetic student needs a class about healthy living with diabetes.

      Oh, you’re an overweight, diabetic, drinking/druggie/smoking, sexually active, former rape/abuse victim with a mortgage you’re having trouble with? Hope you can finish all those classes, otherwise you don’t get to graduate!

    • Nogard13 says:

      That is simply not true. Obese people don’t raise your health care rates. It’s a well-known fact that the most expensive “group” to insure and care for are the elderly. Obese people, since they rarely reach a ripe, old age, actually cost less over time to insure and care for. So, in fact, obese people SAVE you money on your healthcare by taxing the system less over their lifetime than a healthy person does. Also, obese people tend to die quick deaths (heart attacks and strokes) as opposed to longer, more drawn out (and expensive) diseases that affect those of us who live long enough.

      Here’s a link to read up on: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204212858.htm

  83. Tallanvor says:

    This is a clear example of how a university can try to do something it believes is good, and instead is likely to do more harm than anything.

    BMI is not a measure of health or fitness. I’ll say it again: BMI IS NOT A MEASURE OF HEALTH OR FITNESS. It is simply a way of comparing weight to height.

    The U.S. used to consider a person obese if their BMI was 35 or higher. It was lowered to 30 even though studies showed that 40 was probably a better indicator of a problematic weight.

    Also, while studies have shown correlation between weight and a number of conditions (such as diabetes), correlation is not causation.

    • kateblack says:

      BINGO! BMI is a crock that doesn’t differentiate between fat and muscle weight. Most pro-athletes would be considered obese by BMI standards. And many fat people are active/fit and have muscle beneath adipose tissue, which makes them simultaneously healthier than someone with only adipose AND considered less healthy because of their higher BMI.

      I love Kate Harding’s slideshow illustration of the BMI Index.

    • Saites says:

      “Also, while studies have shown correlation between weight and a number of conditions (such as diabetes), correlation is not causation.”

      Ok, how about the slew of positive health effects that exercise has on the body? Those? Not proven by correlation, but proven by causation:

      healthy bone density
      physiological well-being
      strengthened immune system
      lowered cortisol

      Oh, yeah, and general fitness:

      Although BMI is a poor indicator of healthiness, exercise is an excellent and proven way to be healthy.

  84. Bhockzer says:

    Why not just make everyone take the course? Hell, when I was in college I certainly could have used the extra push to get to the gym. Also, as a fat person…yes, fat, I hate the word obese, I don’t see an issue with this at all. What’s wrong with trying to get the youth in this country to develop healthy habits that will benefit them later in life? You don’t see people freaking out when they promote healthy eating habits? But call a spade a spade and people will crawl up the walls to tell you you’re a horrible person for pointing out the obvious. I can honestly say that if I’d had a mandatory gym class in college, I probably wouldn’t have to bust my ass so hard at the gym every night.

    Finally, a great man once said, “You know, sheriff, when friends or family say certain things, they tend not to register. So it helps to hear it from a complete stranger… you’re fat.”

  85. wkm001 says:

    In college I was an athlete and fit. After college I became obese. Now I am fit again. Being fat is really bad for you! Ask any overweight or obese person, if they had the choice of being obese or having a weight in the “normal” range, which one would they pick? They would pick normal every time. This is part of the problem, not being educated makes you feel like your weight is not a choice. For those that are overweight or obese and don’t have a medical condition it is because of ignorance. They don’t know how to maintain a healthy body weight. Simply put, they need to be educated. What better place to do this than college? Yea, highschool would be better, or learning from your parents. But that happens less and less.

    • LadyTL says:

      You know what I am a person who is classified as “obese” but if I lost the wieght to put me down into the “normal” range I would be dying! So guess what not everyone follows your poor assumption of what people would choose. The problem is anyone who isn’t tall and has a decent amount of muscle mass is classified as obese even if they are not carrying around a ton of extra fat.

    • the atomic bombshell says:

      I’m technically “overweight” by BMI’s standards, by a few pounds. And I have asthma, but I ran 5k today. I wish people would stop conflating size and health.

  86. wordsmithy says:

    Are we talking about Lincoln University in Missouri or Lincoln University in Pennsylvania? I’ve seen both being cited as the school with this policy.

  87. schernoff says:

    The thing is, it was a stated requirement when they enrolled in 2006. The problem these people are having is they didn’t pay attention 3 years ago, and now they’re realizing “oh shit, I have to take a gym class to graduate”.

    But I do think mandating that only people above a certain BMI have to take the course is kinda skating on thin ice.

  88. KittensRCute! says:

    you cant single people out. its either for everyone or for no one. you say that only some students have to do something.

  89. DD_838 says:

    I wonder if they have to pay for this course??

  90. ahleeeshah says:

    I was torn at first as to how to feel about this. If the class is free and doesn’t take away from time they need to take other classes, I didn’t see it as horrible. Then I listened to a bit about it on NPR where some official from the school admitted that the school does not have enough funding for their own cafeteria to offer healthy food to the students. If you aren’t doing your part to help them, I cannot see forcing students to do anything.

  91. JulesNoctambule says:

    I’d rather see nutrition and basic cooking classes added. People of all weights, heights and BMIs could use a few kitchen and grocery skills. With issues like these, singling out people for what essentially amounts to a public shaming for perceived personal failures isn’t going to do them any favours and might have the added effect of completely turning them off to the activity in the future.

    /person of average weight
    /asthmatic who always hated gym class

    • Coelacanth says:

      Those courses used to exist in high school, but good luck finding those practical skills taught anywhere, thanks to “No Child Left Behind.”

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Great idea. The freshman five, or fifteen, often comes because people don’t know how to cook good food. But whether you put on weight or not, what you eat affects your health. Obviously the maroons at this college haven’t been keeping up with some of the research – for instance, discovering that “skinny” people can still have dangerous abdominal fat.

      Also agree that it should be taught, but needs to apply to ALL students. A good friend in school rapidly gained a lot of weight due to a medical problem (thyroid). We exercised together and she was and is a good, healthy cook. Meanwhile, my ex-roommate, who was skinny and ate terribly – which put him at risk, since he was diabetic – wouldn’t qualify on the weight scale.

      • kateblack says:

        I think the freshman 15 is more relevant to kids who live on campus and/or start drinking regularly.

        I lived in off campus housing when I went to school, and I lost weight. I didn’t drink much and I cooked at home. I also saw the alternative, when I worked as a dorm security guard. Those kids didn’t have real kitchen access and many ate nothing but fast food & what they could get at convenience stores.

  92. edguitar says:

    Why not requiere it for everyone specially the fat bitches at HR and Registar’s office. I hate them

  93. macoan says:

    I’m 50/50 about liking this idea. Myself overweight (medically may be Obese, but not THAT bad) – the reason I don’t do much fitness & exercise is that I don’t have the time.

    If I was forced to be in a fitness class, I would give it a try. But at the same time, if I wanted to sit & do nothing – I don’t think it should cause someone to “fail” and not graduate.

    So my general random thoughts on the subject:

    1. This is something they should be doing more in High Schools.

    2. It should be an ungraded class – and if a person did not want to do anything, as long as they attend – they should pass. (That is lead them to water, but don’t force them to drink) (not that I’m comparing obese people to horses…. but you know what I mean.)

  94. AlfredaCosta says:

    Neither here nor there, but I do think it’s important to report if this is Lincoln University (in Missouri) or Lincoln College (in Philly). I too, have seen both schools in stories, although most have been the one in Philly.

  95. quirkyrachel says:

    Are they forcing students who smoke or drink to take classes related to those topics?
    Also, does this class go on the transcript? If so, even if it’s labeled as a generic PE class, it could be a huge problem since students often need to send transcripts to, say, potential employers and grad schools. Since this is in the press, I’m sure that someone who knows about it might see a transcript and assume that this person is overweight.

  96. Firethorn says:

    I’m not impressed. My degree programs have all required a physical fitness component. I had to have so many PT credits to graduate high school. Amounts varied between 3-6 credit hours. I’ve taken weight lifting, karate, and basic training counted as 3 credit hours.

    The only objection I’d have is not requiring something from everybody. As is, if the college offers health care, they have a point – obese people have a far higher average medical cost, especially when young, than lighter people. There’s also arguements about their ability to concentrate and do work.

    I’ll note that I SUPPORT regular PT classes for all students and think that it’s even a good idea for many businesses. In Japan and China they’ll often have group exercise before work. The human body is designed for a certain amount of physical work, and most of us get nowhere near that level and it causes problems.

  97. Edfire says:

    Here’s the problem with the BMI; as a public health tool it’s fairly helpful for tracking a population. But let’s take the BMI and apply it to Lincoln University’s sophomore running back; at 5’8″ and 205 lbs his BMI is 32, making him technically obese. Yet, he’s probably one of the best conditioned athletes on the team.

    So there’s always that.

  98. SaraFimm says:

    Why don’t the anorexics have to take an eating class?

    I’m 350 pounds. Horrible, right? Then consider it’s on a 6ft tall woman and it’s bad, but not as bad as you might think. I had a car accident a couple years ago and I’m now limited by how much I can move. I’m also a recognized depression/stress eater. Now do you understand why I weigh so much? I have blood work drawn every 3 months. According to my doctors, I AM IN PERFECT HEALTH despite my weight.

    As someone said before, a nutrition and cooking class should be de rigueur in every high school to graduate. Lumping nutrition in with Health classes just makes it a chore (it was when I was in High School) while eating food in class gets everyone’s attention. Putting recess back in schools might also be a good thing, but you can’t force the kids to play. ie: I was the brainy kid who did most of her homework during recess and on the bus to/from school so I had more time for fun once I got home.

  99. Ronin Democrat says:

    Really um I’d like to see the deans and president and the rest of the faculty be required as well. “Obese people can learn but they can’t teach” should be the fatty fat fat student chant

  100. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    So are students lacking in coordination given appropriate mandatory remediation… are those students who can’t identify a salad fork given appropriate mandatory remediation… are smokers forced to take classes on how to stop… are the fashionably challenged forced to take fashion class… are the short given therapy to grow taller… are the too tall given surgery to shrink… are the students with big noses, wide feet, skin blemishes or possibly even just of the wrong skin colour forced to change?

    Are all the well meaning administrators and policy makers fully covered with liability insurance because discrimination against the obese would seem to be the last form of discrimination about to make it to the courts.

  101. ladyw says:

    If it’s not related to academics, it should not be required to graduate, period. Make it an elective that people can do for credit if they please. Especially since you have to pay to attend university. Frankly I’d be pissed if I paid $5000 dollars a semester only to be told I can’t graduate cum laude with my history degree because I’m too fat.

  102. theinstallguy says:

    Really? Are we going to go down this road? I can see by the posts, we might be.
    Quite frankly, I am appalled at the thought that physical activity is an option in high schools and universities. Since when, as a society, have we become so opposed to physical activity, opposed to anything that might involve dealing with other people? The horror at the thought we might go out and have an ok time with other humans and play a game. According to my WII, I am also overweight. I am 5,10 and weigh about 190. What needs to happen here is that the BMI should be updated. It is archaic in today’s world. An earlier post stated in perfectly, most football players would be found overweight according to the BMI. It needs to change, however, suck it up! Who cares if your the fat kid that cant climb the rope. I doesn’t appear they are asking you to do that. The article states that you have to spend a horrific three hours a week to “LEARN” to exercise and “LEARN” to eat properly. Quite frankly, everyone should have to take it. I would love to see how many people above the “threshold” are already involved in these courses. I suspect the people who aren’t, are the same type of people that forced schools to make gym and option a generation ago. BTW: It took me a while to learn to climb the rope in school too, but I can now!

  103. girly says:

    Just make everybody take the class. PE is good for everyone.
    Singling people out by BMI doesn’t send out the message that health is important, just not being ‘big’.

  104. JohnnyD says:

    I can understand why they did this, but as someone who had a healthy BMI before succumbing to poor self-esteem and depression leading to weight gain (which i have lost 70 lbs of, on my own, thanks) I can also be irked. Yes, being overweight is bad for you. It’s bad for society. But if you want to help a person you need to know why they are the way they are. I would be pissed and insulted if i were required to take this class just because i’m overweight, especially since i’m correcting the problem on my own. And especially because of that ‘self esteem’ issue. ‘Hey, fatty, go to the gym.’
    That said, three credits of phys ed are required at my college. Two are classroom, one is physical. I don’t mind that, since everyone does it, and there are options in what physical one you want to take.

  105. ultimateinfowarrior says:

    “filled with rage, confusion, and/or frustration” ? Sounds more like they are filled with about 300 pounds of lard accumulated by spending their parents excess college funds on the caloric intake of a blue whale. I’d be raging with confusion too if I had to carry 300 pounds up a flight of those college steps in addition to having classes located on opposite ends of a square mile campus.

    Hello….. if the heavys do not like a particular shool’s policy… then they should transfer and take their krispy kreme money to another school who will appreciate sumo sized students in their cafeterias.

    “Slightly high Body Mass Index” ?? is that what they call it now to convince everyone else that their health is fine? When other students are affected by the gravitational pull from one of these ‘slightly high body mass indexes’ I think it’s time to admit that it’s more than slight…. more like gargantuan….

    I say let FEED’EM ring… Every American should have the right to willfully stop their own heart from beating by the continuous infusion of every processed, sweetened, and deep fried confection available.

    It will serve a dual purpose when the med students need subjects to examine… although I hear that McDonald’s food will last Ten years+ without molding or decaying… and still look like the picture so I’m sure it will double as a perfect embalming agent thus mummifying the subjects for study well into the future….

    The College is there to charge people to learn … not enforce their idea of individual morality, health or to coerce a utopia by rules and or laws. It is discriminatory… after all… shouldn’t people that have other excesses be forced to go to classes pertaining to their particular vice or excess? Oh no.. mandatory Sex Ed again….. :(

    Personally…. I would draft all of the heavy hitters into the Military for frontline troops… they would be super intimidating to the enemy…. and have extra protection against projectiles. Sure… they’d have to strip the armor off a a vehicle to outfit one of em.. but with daily PT every 3AM they are bound to become a lean mean fighting machine fit for graduation from any respectable college…..

  106. teke367 says:

    Bad idea. Perhaps if they instituted a policy that started in 4 years, etc, so nobody who is currently enrolled is forced. It’s not as simple as transferring, credits don’t always qualify at other schools…

    Is this a public university? Depending on how much state money (if any) they accept, wouldn’t that make this illegal?

  107. michaelgibbons says:

    BMI is a joke, but if a private institution wants to create such a fitness requirement of some sort that’s fine by me. Not surprisingly, federal attempts at nutrition and wellness have failed. Maybe such classes would have more success. And what does “deal with enough guff” mean? What examples that are “guff”—or unfair—are out there?

  108. zappdaddy says:

    Are they considering required:
    –Etiquette classes for the snobby click members?
    –AA for the occasional beer drinker (assuming of age)?
    –Math 101 for the jocks?
    –Beauty classes for the homely?

  109. baristabrawl says:

    Oooooh. This won’t end well. BUT…if they don’t have some sports team anyone cares about they can at least say they have the best cholesterol numbers of any campus in the US.

  110. Raeth says:

    I think this is a fair policy for the university to implement since it does apply to all students. Their purpose is to teach their students how to be successful and to educate them. Good health and habits are part of this education. It is their perogative how they instruct their students and what they require of them, so long as it is legal. Those who disagree with it should not enroll. I would say that this falls into the same lines of athletic scholarships almost never going to clinically obese students. They already have it harder because of this. Obesity is not a race and should not be treated the same as racism.

    An example, a student with narcolepsy who oversleeps likely will not be forgiven for missing their final exam and failing, even though a medical condition was the cause. There’s a reason for the meaning behind “college material”. It doesn’t just mean passing a written exam. It’s about proving yourself to be a capable individual.

    I do believe, however, that a doctor’s note should be acceptable to excuse them from this requirement. If they have a gentic disorder which prevents them from losing the weight, then it is not their fault. However, if they are obese by habit, by all means it is right to require them to take a course on fitness.

  111. lakecountrydave says:

    I do not believe that they should be punishing selected students for this treatment. I am also curious who is paying the bill for this added graduation requirement. It has been a long time since I was in school, but isn’t a full time student classified as someone who is taking 12 credit hours? That works out to a $2257 (in state student living at school) / $2850 (out of state student living at school penalty.

    Also, if obese people should pay more because of the added cost of their medical needs should not we be charging the people who take prescription drugs looking for that magic pill that will make them whole? For example, but in no way limited to, the parents who feed their kids anti anxiety drugs so they don’t act like children. The side effects of these prescriptions is a huge cost to our health care system.

  112. Good Cop Baby Cop says:

    At my school, we have free access to our gym and classes in the gym like aerobics are a minimal fee (less than $10 a month). If it were something like that, I think it’d be great, especially if it were required for all students. But if this is an actual class with credit hours and regular tuition, I’m not so thrilled about that.

  113. drjayphd says:

    So where does Sodexho rate on the Chartwells scale? (Gee, wonder why I didn’t mind going off the meal plan after freshman year, even if it meant I’d have to cook for myself, how ever would I survive…)

  114. JanDuKretijn says:

    Bravo. Fat people should be made to lose weight. Enough of your dandy-ass individualism.

  115. Moosenogger says:

    It’s completely unfair to force students with a certain BMI to take a fitness class. Why? Because they HAVE TO PAY TO TAKE THAT CLASS. Does that course have anything to do with their major? Doubtful. Will they get anything out of that course? Maybe (though 10 seconds of googling could get you the same information). Will the course be a waste of time, since they could be spending those hours completing work for other classes? Hell yes.

    This is just the university wanting to squeeze more tuition money out of a particular group of students. Why not force all students over the age of 21 to take a “Drinking and You” class, where they learn the dangers of drinking too much? Alcoholism and partying too hard are bad for your health, too, but I highly doubt the school could get away with something so laughably stupid.

    Also, BMI is not a very good indicator of health. According to my BMI and weight/height, I’d be considered obese. However, everything else about me is in a healthy range – my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are perfectly normal and I can get around just fine. So I have some extra fat – who cares? A lot of people do. Forcing me or other “obese” people to take a fitness course isn’t magically going to lead to us losing 50 or 100 lbs in a semester.

    A lot of factors go into your weight – eating habits, life style, genetics, etc – and a forced semester of learning about fruits and vegetables can’t change all of them.

  116. savashley says:

    “despite the fact that I have a slightly high Body Mass Index.”

    um..i read the CNN article a few days ago..the minimum BMI for this requirement is 30…that is more than “slightly high”. That is unhealthy. I understand that some people are like super muscular and that since BMI is calculated solely based on height and weight, not body fat, but look around you people…America is FAT.
    I agree, that this is discrimination, but maybe these students should be thankful that they’re being given the opportunity to get in shape, and they’ll be motivated to focus on improving their health.

  117. uber_mensch says:

    If my memory serves me right… Bob Jones University used to require the same thing back in the 1980’s.

  118. Drivebyluna says:

    RIT has a policy wherein a Bachelor’s degree requires two “lifestyle” classes and an associate’s degree requires one.

    These classes can be exercise or hobby classes, or classes about health or spiritual wellness.

  119. karlmarx says:

    I am not sure that making a student take a course because they are obese is even legal. I don’t know how that fits into an academic setting. We shouldn’t judge people like that.

    (This type of treatment seems to perhaps fall under the “Equal Protection Clause” of the 14th Amendment.)

  120. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m with those who say fitness classes should be required for everyone . It’s takes away the discrimination and better educates a person . Fitness training would be one of the more practical courses a college could give outside of one’s major .

    I think college or even high school is a good way to at least get some thinking about their health . If nothing else it better prepares a person to deal with a trainer or doctor if their health comes into question in the future .

  121. verbatim613 says:

    She came to get an education. Well, maybe she should be taught how to eat right and exercise.

  122. INsano says:

    Personally I find obesity disgusting…but that’s because I’m a thin, mean person. Until they require mean students to take classes on sociability, its completely unfair to choose one fault over another. I’m mean–but fair.

  123. nofelix says:

    This is good but should focus on the health of all students, not just the BMI of fat students.

    Fatties whining that they are healthy and cannot get slimmer should ask the University doctor to examine them and write a note exempting them from the requirement.

  124. Caveat says:

    Our local community college makes a health class mandatory for everyone that wants to graduate. After all, obesity is a risk for everyone in their lifetime. You may be thin at 20, but the pounds tend to pack on along with the years.

  125. Scatter says:

    People who drive while intoxicate are forced to take DUI classes. People who are obese should have to take health classes. Maybe these people should stop getting so offended and take this as a hint. It may turn out to be the kick in the ass they need to change their lives before its too late.

  126. Anne says:

    Thanks for using my photo for this article, but just so you guys know for the future: please be sure to check the Creative Commons licensing. In the case of this photo, it includes “No Derivative Works — You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.” (which I believe includes cropping.)

    Now, I like you guys, so I don’t mind and am willing to grant an exception, but other folks might not be quite as forgiving.

  127. odarkshineo says:

    As long as their is a class for people that are too skinny it’s probably a good idea!