too fat to graduate. try explaining that to mom & dad.

November 30, 2009

in wellness

the practice of making people who are obese or who don’t participate in company wellness programs pay a price is well-covered ground here and elsewhere. now we can add something else to the mix—students being too obese to graduate.

lincoln university, a local college in philadephia, has a new graduation requirement for those with a BMI above 30: completion of three hours of fitness classes per week for one semester. james deboy, chairman of the school’s department of health and physical education, argues that:

“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.”

an expanded notion of a college’s responsibility to prepare students for success in life and work? or overreaching, paternalistic meddling?

what are your thoughts?


Leave a Comment

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Hebert December 1, 2009 at 7:42 am

Ah… how many professors, administrators and teachers can pass this same test? Glass houses anyone?

This is getting ridiculous.

Where does it stop?
Smoker? – no diploma for you!
Hate broccoli? – no diploma for you!
Play too much Call of Duty 2? – no diploma for you!

This is a sure way to get people to revolt against these things so I say keep it up until it caves in on their heads.


fran December 4, 2009 at 9:15 am

hey paul,

so, here’s what i think. i think it’s great that lincoln university added this requirement. colleges and universities have all sorts of requirements to ensure their grads are ready for their launch into the “real world.” we pay hordes of money to these institutions for this leg up, and obesity can set you back — from a health and earnings perspective. we wouldn’t accept a university giving short shift to academics. why do so here? i wouldn’t be surprised if this catches on.



Paul Hebert December 4, 2009 at 9:19 am

And next quarter we can have a “laundry” class and a “how to shop for healthy food” learning track – and don’t forget a “how to balance a checkbook” lab.

C’mon fran…. some of these issues are way outside the charter and responsibility of an “education” institution.

How much of what parents are supposed to do are we going to shove off onto another ill-equipped institution to raise contributing members of society.

I get that this is an issue. I also believe we need to do something about it. I don’t believe this is the right way.


fran December 4, 2009 at 9:24 am

c’mon paul, it takes a village (LOL). but really, we already do outsource a lot of parenting to schools–and other institutions– because not everyone’s equally prepared.

i think we should take our act on the road.



Paul Hebert December 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

Just ‘cuz we do doesn’t me we should.

A scant 50 years ago, an 18 year old was considered an adult – today I’m guessing (with inflation) its around 30 – neither the parents nor the institutions are doing their jobs.

Maybe the answer lies in managing births not managing lives? Ooh – that sounds Orwellian too….


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