SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Forced To Be Physically Fit

SS Member Image By drodriguez 12.01.09
Forced To Be Physically Fit
Share Tweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make a Comment

Comment  *
  • lisaberger By lisaberger

    I know it may be embarrassing, but I wish that I had gotten into the exercise habit in college. I think it would have been much easier to make it important in my adult life, and thus been easier to fight obesity. So, I support this idea.

  • CrystalBurgard By CrystalBurgard

    I can see the reasons behind the school doing this and I agree with them. However, I also feel that the current students who have been enrolled at the school before this went into effect should not be forced to partake because this was placed on them after the fact.. New students will see that it is a requirement and can choose to go elsewhere if they do not agree

  • MarieVonLove By MarieVonLove

    As much as I find health important, these people are going to college to get a degree and start their career, not to be told that they are too obese to attend.And another thing, what if the person is obese, not because of food, but because of certain medication or ilness which makes it harder for them to lose weight. So should they be denied their education? No.

  • 107Down By 107Down

    I think if they require it for some, it should be required for all. The college I attended required 2 PE credits to graduate, regardless of major or personal size. Be consistent, but don't discriminate!

  • nemiort By nemiort

    I agree that if universities require a fitness course, that it should be a requirement for ALL students because people who are not in the "obese" BMI range can also be out of shape (this is something that many people do not think about), and so that a specific group of people are not being discriminated against.

  • GuessWho By GuessWho

    I think that this is ridiculous! People are paying for an education. All overweight people should not be assumed to be unhealthy. This college has gone too far. What about the people who are underweight? This is dangerous as well. I don't believe that targeting "obese" students is a wise move for any college. My daughter will be attending college next fall and as a parent I will be looking out for colleges such as this.

  • Innergy By Innergy

    So even if it cuts into their studying and what they are actually paying for (an education), they are REQUIRED to exercise? That's crap. Why not offer it for free and make MANDATORY that all foods high in saturated fat not be served on campus? Discriminating against overweight students...are you working for healthcare companies?

  • cybrown551 By cybrown551

    I think that diet and exercise is very important in maintaining a healthy life style, however, I do not think that the school should tell people when they need to diet and exercise. The students did not register in a fitness program when they started school. If the school had a problem with people being a little plumped than they should not have accepted their money for registration.

  • momagarry By momagarry

    It should be left up to that person to decide.

  • msfriendly By msfriendly

    Maybe the school should look at the food that is available for their students to eat. My daughter goes to college and has a hard time finding healthy choices (she weighs 100 lbs) and can't even find some decent fruit to eat!

More stories like this