Mandating Obesity Testing Across the Curriculum: Lessons Learned

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James L. DeBoy
Sally B. Monsilovich

Keywords

BMI, obesity, benign paternalism, hypokinetic disease, fitness for life class

Abstract

In response to the obesity problem that has dramatically increased over the past 30 years, Lincoln University’s HPER faculty petitioned the University faculty to accept a somewhat radical approach: test all entering first year students using Body Mass Indices (BMI) data for placing students in a Fitness for Life class. This class would constitute the intervention for students with BMI scores of 30 or higher (obese rating). This paper describes the chronology of events that unfolded once the placement policy became known beyond the campus green. Arguments both for and against the controversial course are presented. While the placement policy has been modified, the aim of the intervention has not wavered: identify those students who are most at risk for hypokinetic disease and provide them with the appropriate resources to effectively address those amenable lifestyle factors that will rob them of quality and quantity of life. 

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