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Forced To Be Physically Fit

Forced To Be Physically Fit

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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  • srg1214 By srg1214
    12.11.09  

    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.

  • oneangelsmiles By oneangelsmiles
    12.14.09  

    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.

  • Monzav By Monzav
    12.15.09  

    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.

  • cookie48 By cookie48
    12.15.09  

    I don't approve of anyone being forced to be fit, a person has the right too choose the way their body looks. If they are uncomfortable with their body then they can do something about it. Choosing too be physically fit is each individuals decision not those of other caliber. Making it a requirement for graduation is trully an invasion of a person's privacy and individual rights, this should be anolled imediately

  • Kaykay0711 By Kaykay0711
    12.15.09  

    Though I agree with the concepts illustrated here, I think there may be a better way to approach the situation meaning more of an all or nothing approach, perhaps. The one thing I learned while pursuing a nutrition degree is that even if your BMI is not in excess or putting you in the obese catagory, many people do not eat right or take care of themselves. I think if the college offers medical insurance, the student should be given the option of pursuing an education including methods of maintaining a lower BMI or eating better. If the student does not choose to take the additional information, the college medical policy cost should be based on that decision like life insurance for diabetics for example. (my husband is diabetic due to kidney failure but regardless, he gets a higher rate, so, yes, I understand)

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    12.16.09  

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  • kbrownlaw By kbrownlaw
    12.16.09  

    This is a great idea. But, I agree that they should also provide healthy food choices and classes to teach people how to eat better. My roommates in college had no idea how to eat right. I had to teach them how to make salad..it was really sad.

  • JEM4612 By JEM4612
    12.17.09  

    I agree that eating right and regular exercise are a very, very important part of life and that as a nation, our health care costs are a direct result of obesity and people not eating right. However, these seems like one more example of our society making the individual not responsible for their own self. Should the college really act like the parent and force the student to exercise? Like others pointed out, do the students have access to healthy affordable foods? How many students know how to cook so they have some control over the food that goes into their mouth? Maybe this program will work for some people, but I am tired of the lack of personal accountability we are moving to in our country. This is a societal issue.

  • JEM4612 By JEM4612
    12.17.09  

    Also, for all the people who say they wish someone had forced them to exercise years ago, why not start exercising now? Moving your body is supposed to be a normal part of being human. Our bodies were made to move. It's never too late to start moving/exercising!

  • krishunt55 By krishunt55
    12.18.09  

    I think this is great. Obesity causes many problems. People are becoming less active and this is a push in the right direction.

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