General chatter - too fat to graduate college?




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lizziep
12-01-2009, 02:36 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/30/lincoln.fitness.overweight/

just read this article. i'm completely floored. What does everyone think?? I guess I understand the intention- but to make it a requirement for graduation seems intrusive and discriminatory.

I wonder if they make the people who are underweight take any extra classes.


cormandy62442
12-01-2009, 02:50 AM
Ok, I haven't even finished reading this article and I'm already floored. How on Earth can a college make it a requirement to lose weight or you can't graduate. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. If I went there that school would lose all my money because I'd surely transfer.

Primm
12-01-2009, 04:23 AM
I can sort of see where they're coming from (trying to make everyone a bit healthier). But I bet some of the skinny crackheads who go to that college are far less fit and healthy than the bigger kids.

Why don't they just make a health and fitness class mandatory for everyone? Would achieve their aim, without discriminating against people who are a bit bigger. And what's with the BMI of 30 cutoff? Pretty sure most of their football team would be way larger than that! Although they already do fitness classes.

Dumb idea if you ask me. At least in this incarnation.


kaplods
12-01-2009, 04:27 AM
I find it interesting that the student quoted who supports the idea - was able to opt out of the class. Could they not find a student who supports the idea who had take the class?

Being a primarily African American school, I do understand they may be trying to address the fact that African Americans are at higher risk for many health problems assumed to be life-style related. It's my understanding, though that this is true regardless of weight - and that often even with weight - the extra pounds may not show up until middle-age, so why isn't a requirement for every student? Being thin is no guarantee of health - or of life-long thinness, either.

When I went to Illinois Wesleyan EVERY student had to take two P.E. credits. At the time, I thought it was kind of dumb, but because everyone had to do it (except those on the athletic teams for two or more semesters), it was no big deal. I was terrified of taking a class, and being the least fit student, so I opted for independent study. I had to get the permission of the department chair (the coach was so thin and young, I thought she would have a problem with it, but she was very understanding, and the one-on-one attention was awesome).

To be singled out, I would have made a HUGE stink - because I would expect the class to be mandatory for other risky behaviors - the pot and tobacco smokers - the drinkers and partiers - the carelessly promiscuous.

Can you imagine making students take a class if they admitted or were caught making poor health choices such as having casual sex without using use a condom (and how would they know - students "ratting" out each other).

Yeesh. It's another way of rationalizing discrimination ("it's for your own protection" I would expect an African American institution to recognize that as faulty logic. It certainly has been used against the African American community enough).

I fully accept that obesity is a lifestyle factor that contributes to health problems - but it's far from the ONLY one - especially when talking about a young population. College students, and young people in general (and older people aren't exempt either) make a lot of risky choices - why select out only the people you can easily pick out of a lineup - why not make it mandatory for everyone?

Presumeably some of these thin folks will at some point, become obese. Presumeably some of these thin folks (even if they manage to stay thin forever) have or will have obese family members, even children. If it's really about EDUCATION, they would make it mandatory - or allow only those students to opt or "proficiency" out based on their KNOWLEDGE of the material - not their body weight.

Thinness is hardly proof that a person is living a healthy lifestyle or has the knowledge necessary to maintain a healthy weight for life.

Bad logic, in my opinion. Make it mandatory for everyone, or optional for everyone.

sunflowergirl68
12-01-2009, 04:47 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/11/30/lincoln.fitness.overweight/

just read this article. i'm completely floored. What does everyone think?? I guess I understand the intention- but to make it a requirement for graduation seems intrusive and discriminatory.

I wonder if they make the people who are underweight take any extra classes.


I think that's TOTAL CRAP.

While I was in college, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, had it removed, and before then I had gained weight because I was hypothyroid, and the tumors made my thyroid basically quit working, and I can pretty much pinpoint in my college career when this happened, around the middle of sophomore year. Anyways, when you have zero metabolism, you gain weight very easily. And unfortunately for me, exercising and eating right would not have helped me lose any weight, because I needed thyroid hormone.

Now, after two surgeries and two radioactive iodine treatments, I'm cancer-free (so far), but only now, a year and a half after graduation (and I went to college for 5 years), is my Synthroid at the right levels and I'm losing weight by eating right.

It's discriminatory to people with hidden medical disorders, like me, because losing weight isn't simple as exercising and eating right. I also think it's kind of an invasion of privacy, and my medical records are private, and i shouldn't be required to talk about it, and if I had attended this college, I would have needed an explanation of why it's discriminatory towards me, and why I should be exempt from the class.

And, I think the thing that was left out of the article and should have been mentioned.... exercising alone will NOT help you lose weight. Most of weight loss comes from what goes in your mouth. Exercise is definitely needed to lose weight, but you can't just exercise and eat like crap and expect to lose weight.

So because of that (and the fact that it's 3x a week for what, an hour?) makes me think it's pretty useless for maximizing weight loss. You have to WANT to lose weight in order to.

Rosinante
12-01-2009, 06:46 AM
I didn't read all the way down but the bit I read didn't actually annoy me that much - I presume the precondition was laid down at the start of the course? Could students have chosen to attend another college if they objected?

I think we should be much more up front about weight and size and the solutions to it. It's not as though the students have to lose weight or hit a certain goal, it's attendance that's required.

I think it's a great idea and, properly handled, could lead to a more normal attitude to weight and health: instead of 'fat' being a taboo word that we all keep tip-toeing around, it could become just normal: if you get to BMI 'X', then this is the treatment you need, the same way as if your eyesight is a particular way you're prescribed glasses.

nelie
12-01-2009, 10:41 AM
Did they actually say where or what school this was?

The reason I ask is I think Philadelphia was named the fattest city in the nation a while back and they tried to make strides to do things to change that. This may have been part of one of those efforts.

Aclai4067
12-01-2009, 11:07 AM
I'd have no problem taking a class like that, IF it were required for everyone. I loved weight training in high school, and I actually looked for PE type classes at my University but couldn't find anything.

JulieJ08
12-01-2009, 12:16 PM
It's just plain too ridiculous for words. I do not believe it will last.

katkitten
12-01-2009, 04:18 PM
wait...im confused...is the requirement that they lose weight in addition to the class? My reading was just that they had to take the class and that passing it was still possible even if you were still overweight. If this is the case then I agree they should make it a school-wide criteria. If they actually have to lose weight to graduate then I think they deserve to be sued!!!

My college required everyone take 2 semesters of PE. The first semester was a general class that focused on holistic health (including standing up to peer pressure etc) and the second class was chosen by the student (i took ballroom dance =0P). It was stupid but at least it wasnt singling people out. During the first semester, we had to do a fitness test as a part of the class and (wouldnt you know it?) I ran laps around those superskinny types and could do wayy more pushups and situps etc. I was not as overweight as I am now but I was still probly over that 30 bmi! And I remember thinking at the time: see? weight isnt everything!

Aclai4067
12-01-2009, 08:05 PM
They don't have to lose weight, just take the class. I guess the school just assumes if you're overwieght you must not know how to be healthy so they will teach you. And it's on you to lose weight or not after that.

EZMONEY
12-01-2009, 09:47 PM
I have no problem with students having to pass testing for their BMI and physical fitness...

as long as their degrees are in Physical Education, Nutrition or the like.

JulieJ08
12-01-2009, 09:54 PM
Do they make the business and finance majors submit their bank records and credit reports to ensure they are responsible financially? :shrug:

EZMONEY
12-01-2009, 10:45 PM
Do they make the business and finance majors submit their bank records and credit reports to ensure they are responsible financially? :shrug:

Well I don't think so but what a good point!

kaplods
12-01-2009, 10:47 PM
I don't think offering the class is a problem, but the assumption that a higher BMI is an indication of IGNORANCE of health issues - and a lower BMI is an indication of KNOWLEDGE of health issues - or that either BMI reflects healthy behaviors, is where they're missing the mark. They're ASSUMING that low BMI folks are not at risk - and must be doing something "right" (rather than just being lucky that current bad habits haven't caught up with them yet).

If they're trying to address health issues, they're overlooking or ignoring some very important factors that may be just as much or even more so indicators of health risk (though less visible). What about students who smoke, drink, use drugs or those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels? What about students with or at risk for type II diabetes (because of family history) who just happen to have a BMI under the mandatory range)?

It's at least as important for an underweight diabetic to exercise regularly, have a healthy diet and understand good health practices, as an overweight nondiabetic.

And what about significantly or even severely underweight students - are they mandated to take the class because they might be at risk for anorexia - and if not, why not?

I don't think such a class normalizes obesity, or makes it less stigmatizsed, I believe it makes the stigma worse. If everyone had to take the class, and each student's program was individualized to their own personal needs, THAT would equalize the issue.

It's not like being prescribed glasses - because suitable (as defined by the college, not the student) vision correction is not "mandated" for college graduation. Furthermore, students with imperfect vision aren't being singled out, required to take a special class that students with "sufficient" (as determined by the college) vision are not required to take.

Aclai4067
12-01-2009, 11:15 PM
I think a test would be perfect. All college students take a math placement test at the beginning of freshman year (at most universities anyhow). So why not offer a health/fitness knowledge test and require the class for those with low scores?

megwini
12-02-2009, 09:35 PM
I think if they made this class a requirement for everyone it'd be a great idea! Like a gen ed or something... even students who are too busy to work out regularly would still have an opportunity, and people would be learning more about being active in general. I think singling out people based on BMI is a HUGE mistake, but that the idea itself is smart (and should be applied to everyone).

misskimothy
12-03-2009, 12:24 PM
I wonder why many bemoan the lack of health education and fitness education and nutritional education and use it as a reason for our nation's obesity yet when a college tries to DO something about this in an educational sense, they complain just as loudly?

JulieJ08
12-03-2009, 12:33 PM
I wonder why many bemoan the lack of health education and fitness education and nutritional education and use it as a reason for our nation's obesity yet when a college tries to DO something about this in an educational sense, they complain just as loudly?

Because they did it badly.

And because there's a big difference between grade school and college.

VarsityQuidditch
12-03-2009, 12:39 PM
I didn't read all of the comments so I apologize if someone already said this- but BMI is a flawed system. It doesn't take into account muscle mass. For instance, at one point in his career, Michael Jordan had a BMI that would classify him as obese, so did Sammy Sosa and Arnold Schwarzanegger.

Does this mean that athletes who were muscular would be exempt from this class? This is where the problem sets in- because at that point it becomes discriminatory.

For myself, my BMI is above 30. However, at 5'2, according to BMI, I could be 105 pounds and be a 'normal' weight. I can tell you as someone who has lived in my body for 22 years, that is preposterous. I am tiny, but I am very muscular. I always have been. I have calves that are all muscle, and bigger around than my mountain climbing friends and biking friends. I've always been very strong, and my male and female friends are shocked at some of the things I can carry/lift...my boyfriend's mother, who is pretty fit and healthy as a horse at 50 or so, always makes him carry the kitty litter to the upstairs bathroom where it is kept. One day when I was helping her bring the groceries in, I brought them up, one in each hand. She was absolutely shocked- those litter barrells weighed 30 pounds each...

Anyway, I got off on a tangent, but the point is, a healthy weight for me, even according to my doctor is 150 lbs...which still puts me at a 27.

BMI doesn't work, and it shouldn't be the deciding factor. I think they have the right idea...but why not just have everyone take a fitness class like my college does? Can a fitness class hurt someone who is already in shape anyway?

misskimothy
12-03-2009, 12:50 PM
Julie raises an interesting point --When is education too late to start? College level education is too late? By this rationale, post-graduation/public health education for the general adult population is also a waste? If education is an important aspect of obesity prevention and treatment, why argue against a college that is trying to educate? Graduation isn't linked to weight loss there, just to making sure that their students are able to make an informed decision about their lifestyle choices. So why is this bad? Health and nutritional education is provided in public health situations to adults who are obese regardless of age. This is just another avenue of education.
It seems to me that there are no perfect solutions. At least this is a start in an area which most agree is key to the prevention and curing of obesity.

JulieJ08
12-03-2009, 01:09 PM
Julie raises an interesting point --When is education too late to start? College level education is too late? By this rationale, post-graduation/public health education for the general adult population is also a waste?

Uh, no, that's just silly, isn't it?

But you have to approach a 10-year old much differently than an adult.

If education is an important aspect of obesity prevention and treatment, why argue against a college that is trying to educate?

I don't think most of the argument is again a college trying to educate, it's against they way they are doing it.

Graduation isn't linked to weight loss there, just to making sure that their students are able to make an informed decision about their lifestyle choices. So why is this bad?

Again, the point isn't that it's bad to " make sure that their students are able to make an informed decision about their lifestyle choices." The point is they are not doing that. Students with a high BMI may in fact be healthier than those that are "skinny," and they certainly may already have more knowledge that a class may impart, and the skinny students may have less of that knowledge. It's actually rather ironic and sad that it's an institute of higher learning that is making these kind of silly logical mistakes.


Health and nutritional education is provided in public health situations to adults who are obese regardless of age. This is just another avenue of education.

They aren't "providing" it, they are requiring only certain students to take a class, and their logic behind that selection is poor. If all they wanted to do was provide education, it should be a general requirement for all students.


It seems to me that there are no perfect solutions. At least this is a start in an area which most agree is key to the prevention and curing of obesity.

It's good to try. But it's perfectly valid, and in fact necessary, to critique them when they get it *so* wrong.

misskimothy
12-03-2009, 01:23 PM
How do we know it is "so" wrong? Where are the studies? What have the end results been? What has been the 1,2,5,10 year result?

I still think that education at all levels is key. Clearly college level courses are geared towards their clientelle, so the assumption that they are not being taught appropriately is flawed. Having this as a prerequisite for a diploma is no different than having students take an english assessment before studies can be continued. No one said the college approach was perfect, but the concept is a great one.

The students could of course choose to go to a different college if they disagree with this school's policy.

I just don't understand how on a supportive weight LOSS site there is so much resistance to this educational initiative which may assist in losing weight?!

'Nuf said. SO done!

JulieJ08
12-03-2009, 01:30 PM
How do we know it is "so" wrong? Where are the studies? What have the end results been? What has been the 1,2,5,10 year result?

I'm afraid I don't understand what you're getting at.

Are you saying we don't know that many people with higher BMIs are healthy, that many people with higher BMIs know a great deal about nutrition, exercise and health, and that many people with low BMI have bad lipids and abdominal fat, and that many people with low BMI know very little or have wrong ideas about nutrition, exercise and health?


I still think that education at all levels is key. Clearly college level courses are geared towards their clientelle, so the assumption that they are not being taught appropriately is flawed.

I think you're ignoring what I've been saying, it's rather strange - I said n nothing about how the course is taught. I said it's quite flawed how they are selecting who takes the course.


Having this as a prerequisite for a diploma is no different than having students take an english assessment before studies can be continued.

No, I do not think that is comparable. An english assessment would cover a wide range of knowledge and skills. They are only measuring BMI, which is a poor substitute to determining health or lack of it, and a ridiculous substitute for determining knowledge or lack of it.

EZMONEY
12-03-2009, 01:40 PM
I say it's time to start at the beginning...

take those blankies, milk and cookies away from thos kindergarteners and get them moving instead of naps...

run little kid...run...:running:

JulieJ08
12-03-2009, 01:53 PM
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, EZ :) They need their naps. Cookies at school, not so much.

kaplods
12-03-2009, 03:55 PM
I think the class (even that it's required) is FANTASTIC - but I think it needs to mandatory for all the students, not just the fatties.

There's no way to know whether the thin students will be future-obese, since many people gain weight in their late 20's, 30's, or later middle age.

Singling out the high-BMI students isn't the most logical, effective, or responsible way to go about it. It also sends the very erroneous message that the lower-BMI students must be "doing something right," or that they have some knowledge that the high-BMI students don't have, when it's possible (and I would argue, probable) that their eating habits and health knowledge aren't any better than the high-BMI students.

It's short-sighted (and a bit condescending and punitive) to single out the currently-obese students, when many nof the thinner students may just be "not-yet-obese." Who does it harm to make the class mandatory for ALL students?

lizziep
12-04-2009, 02:05 AM
i guess maybe it hurts the college if they can't afford to have everyone take the class?

after reading everyone's responses I think that the best way they could run this is to do a placement test- for everyone - just like math or English- and if you don't make it- then you take the class.

i definitely don't take issue with a required health and fitness class- i do take issue with singling out the obese students.

kaplods
12-04-2009, 02:12 AM
i guess maybe it hurts the college if they can't afford to have everyone take the class?

I suppose it's possible, but if everyone is taking the course, the college shouldn't lose money on it, as the tuition generally covers those costs (and then some). They could need more faculty, but generally part-time factulty are cheap (often offensively underpaid, in comparison to full-time faculty).

But, if there are financial, faculty, or space issues that prevent the college from requiring the course of all students, there's got to be a fairer system than BMI.

Haley8203
12-04-2009, 06:31 AM
I have no problem with students having to pass testing for their BMI and physical fitness...

as long as their degrees are in Physical Education, Nutrition or the like.

ya exactly! and besides college makes a lot of people gain weight *raises hand* because it's so darn stressful!!!!

megwini
12-04-2009, 06:34 AM
*raises hand* Or because they've never been on their own before and let loose in an all-you-can-eat buffet everyday that is laden with unhealthy choices.

kaplods
12-04-2009, 09:58 AM
It's memories of the all-you-can-eat salad and cereal bar, that irked me so much about this class. It wasn't the fat-chicks who were eating Captain Crunch sundaes for lunch and dinner.

It was the first time I'd seen what eating "whatever you want" looked like (and it wasn't from what was on my plate). My BMI was over 30 at the time, though I was always very food-conscious (especially in a cafeteria setting), and while I didn't lose weight in college, I really didn't gain weight either (until my last semester, and I chalk that up to stress, because I was working an internship and an overload of classes to be able to graduate in three years instead of four).

Heck, at 18 I could have TAUGHT a nutrition and weight management class (I'd been "studying" weight loss nutrition since I was old-enough to check out books in the adult section of the library, at age 8 or 9).

weebleswobble
12-04-2009, 10:12 AM
I would have been able to opt out of this class at any point in college--I was a swimmer and a performer...I often missed meals due to my class/rehearsal schedule and I was very muscular and physically active from morning until midnight. It would have been critical for me to have precisely those skills for when I WASN'T a 20 year old swimmer/performer in college. I don't understand why they would waive anyone from a program like that.

misskimothy
12-04-2009, 11:37 AM
The interesting things about this course are:

1. All students get BMI tested to see if they need to take the course. The policy was instituted 4 years ago. A student had 4 years in which to be tested and see if they need to take the course. Many put this testing off for 3 years and are now in their graduating class and find that they need to take the course.
2. The course is 3 hours a week, and it is an attend only course. You attend, you pass. You don't need to show improvement, just that you attend. It is based on activity, such as aquafit and dance aerobics.
3. The BMI that they are looking for is a BMI of 30. These are obese students, not students in the overweight category. Obesity is multi-factorial, for sure, and part of it is education and activity based.
4. The school recognizes that BMI is not a defining measurement of obesity. IF your BMI is 30, you get a waist measurement to make sure that you are not one of those athletes with a high BMI who doesn't need the course. This weeds out the students further.
5. There is no fee for this course, and the participants have the advice and guidance of trained health and fitness professionals.
6. In the words of the program director:

"James DeBoy, chairman of the school's Department of Health and Physical Education, says the requirement is just like courses to help students' communications or math proficiency. The faculty also has a priority to be honest with students, he said.

"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," he said.

Moreover, if there were unlimited resources, the fitness opportunities would be for all students, but that is not the reality, he said."


I'd have benefited from this course for sure in University. With my prerequisites and mandatory courses required for my degree PLUS the limitation on actually taking PE based courses on non-Ed Phys Ed/non-Kinesiology or non-Rec Admin students, it would have been most helpful to have a guided course with professional advice for free. Lets face it, there are off-hours courses out there but at MY Uni, they all cost money. I was strapped for finances as it was. Maybe if I'd had this type of intervention, I could have avoided the years of non-activity and obesity that followed.

weebleswobble
12-04-2009, 11:55 AM
dunno. They make you take a lot of gen-ed stupid classes. I think you could do without one (insert one gen-ed "blow-off" class here) and develop one life-skills class with exercise including modules on things like: "how not to marry a jerk" "how not to eat yourself to death" "how not to work yourself to death" "how not to ruin your credit" "how to cope with major stress" "how to raise your children so nobody needs to call child protective services"...you know, that basic stuff that's really important but most kids' parents don't teach them...

megwini
12-04-2009, 01:31 PM
It's memories of the all-you-can-eat salad and cereal bar, that irked me so much about this class. It wasn't the fat-chicks who were eating Captain Crunch sundes for lunch and dinner.

Oh yeah, I totally agree. I look around now and see that like at least half of the students seem to be eating utter junk food like EVERY day. Many of the thinner ones are eating just as badly as I was. It just caught up to me sooner than them, I guess. :o But that sure as heck doesn't make them any healthier on the inside than I was when I was obese!!!!

nelie
12-04-2009, 01:40 PM
When I first went to college, I lost 30 lbs. I never liked buffet/cafeteria style food. I hated eating at the cafeteria. I used to basically eat turkey, swiss, mustard sandwiches on sour dough.

I then switched schools and had my own kitchen but had a crazy class schedule and was living on coke (the drink and not diet). I ate horribly and gained the 30 lbs back and then gained 30 more in the course of 3 years.

EZMONEY
12-04-2009, 01:44 PM
I didn't gain weight in college...OK...so I only went to the local JC for a couple of weeks...at night...had soda and chips out of the machines during break...:)

I used to bring snacks to my daughter's college tennis matches....bagels and donuts for the morning matches (healthy and not so healthy) and cookies/chips/pastry things and fruit for the afternoon matches. I always had low-cal cookies, baked chips, etc.

The treats were for both the men's and women's teams.

I almost always came home with all the "healthy" stuff and little of the rest...

Amy8888
12-04-2009, 02:01 PM
When I went to Illinois Wesleyan EVERY student had to take two P.E. credits. At the time, I thought it was kind of dumb, but because everyone had to do it (except those on the athletic teams for two or more semesters), it was no big deal.

Wow, I went to Augustana College in Illinois and we had a similar requirement! I was going to post this too. It was a requirement every student knew going in. The rationale for having P.E. at the college level was in part to expose people to new activities they may not have tried otherwise, and that they may hopefully carry on with once they leave college. (That's a liberal arts education for you!).

But to single out people with higher BMIs is just wrong wrong wrong. Because a high BMI does not necessarily make you less healthy than other health factors. Certainly, not more than smoking...does this college seek out smokers and make them attend a course in health? I can also kinda see the rationale of employers being less likely to hire an overweight person than a normal weight person, but what about an employer who catches a smell of cigarette smoke on a job applicant? Isn't that a turnoff too? Isn't that person going to cost the employer more money in terms of health care?

So yeah, this is absolutely ridiculous. One of the best things about college was that I was free to make my own choices and choose which activities I wanted to learn more about...not being shamed then forced into activity by people who have no business knowing my weight.

misskimothy
12-04-2009, 02:07 PM
I don't know of too many healthy people with a BMI over 30 and a waist measurment over 35 inches. This is who the course is for. BMI is not an absolute of health, true, but a BMI over 30 in the usual indivual is an indication of obesity. Obesity is NOT a healthy situation in and of itself. This shouldn't be a case of "well, why not tackle other problems?" Unlimited funding doesn't exist. This program is in a college composed of a population that has a huge historic issue with obesity and the resulting Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Like the director says, the college feels that to ignore this particular obvious factor that will limit the quality and quantity of life for its students is irresponsible. We should be applauding this small initiative and hope that funds become available to tackle health issues for all students regardless of BMI and other health issues such as smoking. Most campuses are already tackling binge drinking issues and STD/promiscuity issues. This is the next on the list. Just MHO.

KimL1214
12-04-2009, 02:08 PM
I was a varsity collegiate athlete, with a high BMI... I placed in the state and qualified for ECACs every year... I have a high BMI... I think it's BS to go by BMI as I could list at least 15-20 girls in my sorority who have "normal" BMIs but NEVER exercised.

lizziep
12-04-2009, 02:13 PM
what I wonder is do people really equate obesity with promiscuity and binge drinking and doing drugs?

maybe in the sense that someone thinks - oh it's no big deal for now, i'll deal with it later.

but do other people look at me with the same amount of judgment and disgust as say- a meth addict or a girl doing the walk of shame across campus?

JulieJ08
12-04-2009, 02:18 PM
4. The school recognizes that BMI is not a defining measurement of obesity. IF your BMI is 30, you get a waist measurement to make sure that you are not one of those athletes with a high BMI who doesn't need the course. This weeds out the students further.


That helps, but unfortunately leaves out all the ridiculously unhealthy and unknowledgeable students with a BMI under 30. In fact, I think it actually sends them a message that they must be healthy as they are.

misskimothy
12-04-2009, 02:19 PM
I equated it with respect to a public health issue that has consequences health wise for the population in question. It isn't a moral issue. It is a health issue. This has nothing to do with weight being morally bad. Sorry if you read that into my post. What I was saying is that there are lifestyle choices that can result in health issues. Colleges are addressing them. That's all.
And as the director says, he would love to see all students have this course for free but it isn't financially feasible. Gotta start somewheres, no? Instead of ignoring the situation and then reading stories on this site about how education isn't there and how the government and institutions should be doing more and using the lack of education as a reason for one's obesity?

lizziep
12-04-2009, 02:22 PM
misskimothy- oh i didn't read that into your post at all! It just made me think of that! I certainly wasn't upset with your post.

misskimothy
12-04-2009, 02:24 PM
:hug: :hug: :hug: Lizziep. I totally hear you.

kaplods
12-04-2009, 03:01 PM
I think making the class mandatory only for obese student does very much send a moral message "we can't trust you to voluntarily access this wonderful benefit."

In college and graduate school I would have taken advantage of free or cheap access to health services and fitness opportunities. In fact, I did. As an undergraduate I was in the (free) pool at least once a week. In graduate school, I paid for the reduced-rate gym membership - and used it regularly - even though I had to use the gym during unpopular times or I would be harassed by the "hard-bodies." I faced not just stares and giggles, and overheard nasty comments, but nasty confrontations and openly hostil verbal attacks "Why are you here, you're just going to go get a burger after you're done."

And THAT'S why I oppose this mandatory class - I'm afraid that it's an open invitation and even endorsement of blame and ridicule aimed at the obese students. College was nearly as bad as high school, and I don't for a minute believe that students aren't getting harassed and ridiculed by their peers for having to take that class. Making it voluntary, and offering the class for free would be wonderful - but making it a requirement for graduation DOES put an additional stigma (it does not remove it) on obesity.

As for the "you have to start somewhere" regarding all of the health crises that college-students can face - it still doesn't make sense to attack obesity "first." Alcohol, illegal substance abuse, date rape, promiscuous unprotected sex, and even smoking are more immediate threats to health and safety. Yes, obesity is associated with many health risks, but if you study obesity-related deaths and health problems, you find that obesity is a time-bomb that generally doesn't explode until late middle age or later (especially for women).

Many of the other issues (substance abuse, STD's...) have much more immediate consequences. So why are they addressing the "bomb" that will go off in 30 years, and not the one that could explode any minute?

weebleswobble
12-04-2009, 03:12 PM
simply because obesity can't be hidden.

kaplods
12-04-2009, 03:20 PM
simply because obesity can't be hidden.


Exactly. And not a valid rationale. Being able to identify (profile) a problem by apearance alone, is the worst kind of stereotyping and discrimination.

It's not acceptable to say "we can tell by looking at you, that you have a problem - that you ARE a problem."

If they'd decided that only obese men had to take the class (because obesity affects men earlier) or if they had different BMI criteria for men and women - there would be an uproar of discrimination.

And yet, BMI risks are significantly different for men and women, so if this is science-based at all (and not moral/social) then why is the same BMI cut-off being used for men and women?

EZMONEY
12-04-2009, 03:38 PM
In seems to me....in my lifetime...we have gone from...

don't smoke... to

don't smoke and don't do drugs...to

no smoking, drugs or sex....to

no smoking, drugs, sex...and now eating campaigns...

Are we slow learners or what!?

weebleswobble
12-04-2009, 04:26 PM
EZ, I don't know how old you are, but maybe it's 'cause you were a guy...my grandma (85) and my mom were both told growing up that they had to be thin to get a man. This wasn't a PSA (public service announcement) type thing, and it wasn't my family's dysfunction -- it was the message of the day. Donna Reed, Jackie O, Marilyn Monroe...they were skinny and so was everyone else (or so it seemed).

We had a friend from church choir who was very large and she had to make her own clothes or send away for them from the Sears Catalog and some other places. I remember the one year that my mother had a hard time shopping for me, not because I was overweight, but because I hadn't hit puberty, so I was technically a "giant child" because I couldn't wear women's pants or shirts. We tried everything...she took me from store to store, and finally she asked in a panic our overweight friend to help and they both made and altered clothes for me that year.

Sorry, went off topic, but "don't eat so much, you won't get/keep a man" has been a message to women for several hundred years.

nelie
12-04-2009, 04:31 PM
When I was in college, safe sex, not no sex was the message. I remember our RA visiting every room and offering condoms or candy to those that wanted either or both.

I think there is nothing wrong with promoting health but skinny doesn't mean health. Of course with as stressful as a place as college can be, the last thing people tend to think about is their health.

weebleswobble
12-04-2009, 04:56 PM
Exactly. And not a valid rationale. Being able to identify (profile) a problem by apearance alone, is the worst kind of stereotyping and discrimination.

It's not acceptable to say "we can tell by looking at you, that you have a problem - that you ARE a problem."


Right. The problem is, this class looks great on the President's report, and health is the #1 issue in everyone's mind the last few years when this program was instituted...think about the kudos this guy got....

Problem: Our state has a higher rate of obesity than the national average (I'm making this up)
Solution: We've made up this great program
Result: Crunch some end-of-semester numbers that show that some segment of the class lost weight, show some valuable feedback from the evaluations, etc. Get some pictures in the paper, some video on the six o'clock news about how Moo U is trimming the fat. priceless PR.

There are certainly other issues plaguing the student body - unplanned pregnancy or STD, for example. The problem is, you can't profile that...can't walk up to a promiscuously clad girl and say, "You look as though you may have slept with the whole basketball team, you need to take our safe sex class!" Even if her name is written on the bathroom wall, you can't do it.

In a way, obesity is a 24/7 billboard for food addiction (again, with my caveat that I understand that obesity does occur for other reasons, and likewise, food addiction occurs without obesity). There are some other addictive behaviors that have obvious physical identifiers - "meth mouth", the drawn face of the heroin addict, the red eye of the pot head, the gaunt face and odors associated with bulimia, the tracks of IV use and SI cutting... but even all of those require a much more sophisticated eye to identify.

kaplods
12-04-2009, 05:06 PM
There are some other addictive behaviors that have obvious physical identifiers - "meth mouth", the drawn face of the heroin addict, the red eye of the pot head, the gaunt face and odors associated with bulimia, the tracks of IV use and SI cutting... but even all of those require a much more sophisticated eye to identify.


I don't think it's really a matter of the "sophisticated eye." Because even when it's blatantly obvious, it's often not as socially acceptable to address those problems. We're supposed to pretend we don't see those problems, at least until we KNOW they are causing severe legal, financial, relationship... problems. When it comes to fat though, we don't need evidence that the weight IS causing problems, we're justified because there MIGHT be problems. While it's still considered "rude" it's more acceptable to notice and comment on weight, often much more so than drug abuse and sex addiction.

If you're a fat person, you don't have to have any apparent health problems to face criticism and even brutally nasty behavior - but if you're promiscuous or an illegal substance user, people keep their mouth shut until an "intervention" is necessary (that is until there's proof that the person is not just dysfunctional, but actually destructive to self or others).

It's more "ok" to say "you're fat, you need to lose weight," than to say "you're a skank, you need to stop sleeping with so many men."

You could actually catch a girl "in the act" of having sex with the entire basketball team during the basketball game - on the court - without a condom - and it would be less acceptable to confront her about the risky behavior than it would to "tsk" at an overweight woman take a single bite of a donut.

Exageration? Yes, but unfortunately more truth than not, in my experience.

Aclai4067
12-04-2009, 05:55 PM
The problem is, you can't profile that...can't walk up to a promiscuously clad girl and say, "You look as though you may have slept with the whole basketball team, you need to take our safe sex class!"

:rofl: There's a chance I'd pay good money to witness that conversation.


Anyhow, My college experience was similar to nelie's weight loss/gain-wise. Freshman/sophomore years I lost 38 lbs. Junior/senior years between the reverse culture shock/depression, harder classes, and my shiny new binge eating disorder I gained it all back plus 30 additional pounds. *Note- I was exercising regularly, even with a trainer and still gaining weight due to my binge eating.

My point? You can't make people lose weight, even if you make them exercise. I've never minded exercise. I loved high school weight training (despite being the only fatty in the bunch). Like so many here, I'm not bothered by the idea of a college PE class or even it being mandatory or determined by a placement test. But I do have a problem with having to take a fat class. And you know that's exactly what everyone calls the class. I'm very open about my weight and my diet (it's not like people didn't notice I'm fat), but having to take a class because I'm fat stigmatizes it so badly. Should I wear a scarlet F as well?