Behind the Scenes

Should Universities Have Fitness Class Requirements?

When I read about Lincoln University's requirement that students with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher must take a fitness course, I initially thought this was a good idea. However, upon thinking about the situation a bit further, I'm not sure that singling out these students is such a good idea. First of all, the accuracy of the BMI in determining who is actually at an unhealthy weight has been questioned by some, so the determinant on who must take the class might be flawed. I did read, however, that they also go by waist circumference, too. Still, not everyone with an "acceptable" BMI or waist circumference is necessarily healthy. I knew plenty of thin college students who lived off pizza, Ramen noodles and beer when I was in college. No leafy greens or fruits--and certainly no exercise unless you think partying qualifies as exercise.

I understand that the university has limited funding for this course, so they are trying to reach out to the students at greatest risk, and the easiest way to determine that is by weight and waist measurements. However, before more universities start implementing this program, I'd suggest that they consider not singling out a particular group but instead making it a required class for all freshmen. It would do some students--both thin and heavy--some good to have someone walk them over to the student rec center and introduce them to a healthier lifestyle.

What do you think? Is this policy a good idea?

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