Forced To Be Physically Fit

   By drodriguez  Dec 01, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monzav by Monzav | Iowa City, IA
Dec 15, 2009

You know, I think this is a good idea... for high school students, maybe. As others have said, I find this to be discriminatory towards overweight students... They have paid their tuition, they are there for an education-- a fitness program should NOT be mandatory. Yes, it is a good idea with great intentions, but the execution comes off as ridiculously condescending.

oneangelsmiles by oneangelsmiles | ROCK HILL, SC
Dec 14, 2009

Whereas I am all for physical fitness- making it a requirement in order to graduate is completely obsurd- not to mention that is discrimination against the overweight students. I recall when I was in college that between studies and a part time job I barely had time to breath much less work out.

srg1214 by srg1214 | Perris, CA
Dec 11, 2009

I do agree that this program is a great way to instill some type of physical activity into the lives of overweight students however, I think the discrimination against overweight students is wrong. I think that if it is required of some students, then it should be required of all students to have some type of PE credit. We live in a society that is very judgmental and I can only imagine how embarrassing it must be for those students to be singled out. What a shame.

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Dec 11, 2009


theresaann by theresaann | Amawalk, NY
Dec 11, 2009

I think this is a great way to make exercise part of your life. These students will reap all the benefits and perhaps save them many doctor visits when they get older. I do however agree with an earlier posting, the students that enrolled in the school prior to this requirement should be grandfathered.

ciegleparis by ciegleparis | De Land, IL
Dec 10, 2009

It's a good idea, but it should apply to all students. The school's current approach of singling out the obese smacks of big brother and discrimination. I remain forever grateful that my college had the foresight 20 years ago to require all students to take 2 phys ed classes for our graduation requirements, including an "adult fitness class" option. I also was an honor student on academic scholarship, not in shape, though not obese. I was mortified and irritated, frankly, at having to appear for the fitness class in sweats at the gym the first day, but I knew that I needed the course. The coach was fantastic, the class was fun, I never missed a class, and I remember it with fond memories now. The simple workouts that work anywhere and require only you, a jump rope, and a pair of dumbbells keep me in shape yet today. All students, grade school, high school, and college, need good sound fitness classes.

purepeacee by purepeacee | Alto, MI
Dec 10, 2009

I think it's a great idea. We could all use some motivation to get fit!

jazzydaddy by jazzydaddy | ALEXANDRIA, LA
Dec 09, 2009

It would be a wonderful program if it was not mandated. If a person of thier own free will wants to exercise this would be great . It appears this is a bad judgement call from someone who will make our young girls become even more insecure about thier image. My 6 year old ( pencil thin ) granddaughter is already saying she wants smaller thighs like a friend of hers. We do need exercise education in our schools for our well being, but face it this is America, if you are old enough to fight a war then you are old enough to decide about your weight. That being said If you find someone weight offensive LOOK elsewhere. What rights do we take away next !!!!!!!

Marsha47 by Marsha47 | INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Dec 09, 2009

I think more collegs and even grade schools should put an emphasis on weigt loss in their system/s. Had I known earlier in life about what COULD kill me (Being hereditary) I would have made better life choices towards it. For instance, my Hubby toldme to stay home and take care of our 2 now grown kids and now I am taking care of My Mother whom lives with us and I am still at home with no exersizes til I do them on my own (Which I do). Thus, not getting much if any exersize, and getting used to the lazy side of life. Pope NEED to be MADE to exersize, sometimes.

Dec 08, 2009

I believe its not such a bad idea because some ppl struggle alone to lose the weight or dont have support at home this is a way to help em get into excersise and stuff and once they in the will, keep it up.If its optional how many will attent? i wouldnt see it as discrimination because some ppl need help to lose it and besides that does anyone in the family help them to lose the weight?obvioulsy not cuz then they wouldnt be so big and school wouldnt have to start things like that.People should see it as a help for their loved once !!!!!! Because do you want to see ur child die because u dont watch out what it eats or if it does do any excercise? I struggle with weight myself.I agree companies and schools should also serve more healthy options and fruit snacks instead of cookies n chips. I also believe the parents that are offended by it need to face their own reality probably..because in the end who feeds them at home and who do they look up to in behavior?

swellmel by swellmel | Wesson, MS
Dec 08, 2009

I think it's great! Not only does it give them motivation to be active but it gives them a chance to meet other students that they might not have otherwise met. Remember when PE was a requirement in Elementary and High School, then they took it away, now look at our kids, junk foods in the schools almost no physical activity, it's pitiful. OK... I'm ranting but I live in the most obese state and it's sad to see how our youth being taught by example.

summitqwestcomp by summitqwestcomp | Cincinnati, OH
Dec 08, 2009

I think that keeping track of your health is extremely important, but it is unfair to require such a course at a University. I think that it should be a course that a student can choose to take or not, whether their BMI is over the obese range or is just fine.

MsHarris69 by MsHarris69 | Christiana, PA
Dec 07, 2009

I live within this area, and as of yesterday's newspaper (Sunday, 12/6), they are dropping this as a "requirement" and merely recommending classes to students throughout the course of their years there.

ksumm77 by ksumm77 | Middletown, OH
Dec 07, 2009

This should be a requirement for all and not some. A lot of people do not choose to be obese! It has to do with genetics and for some no matter how hard they work it is so frustrating and hard for them to lose the weight.

giesela99 by giesela99 | MINNEAPOLIS, MN
Dec 05, 2009

Many corporations are following similar paths with fining employees with unhealthy lifestyles or rewarding healthy employees. This policy has been in effect at Lincoln University since 2006. Students have their waist circumference measured to rule out those with high muscle mass. Students were aware of the requirements enrolled in the university. Students committed to a healthy lifestyle when enrolling in the school. This is only making news now because a student procrastinated getting fitness tested and is now up in arms about having to take an additional class.