Sunday, November 29, 2009

You Just Too Damn Fat!!

Lincoln University, an HBCU in rural Pennsylvania, is getting international attention and coverage, and lots of heat for requiring students with BMI over 30 to take a specific PE in order to graduate.

Okay. Let's deal with some particulars. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women. BMI Categories:
Personally, I'm just on the edge of normal weight. Whew. You can calculate your BMI at the link. Remember, though, the muscle weighs more than fat, so you could have a high BMI and still be considered normal weight.

People with a BMI over 30 are obese and at risk for lots of health problems including diabetes and heart disease. Now, perhaps with the exception of white women, there is nothing definitive that weight has a negative impact on income. But, a higher BMI, with its associated health risks, in the end costs more.

As for the university, they don't have the resources to offer this course to everyone, which is what they'd like to do. So they make a requirement for people with BMIs over 30 not to be discriminatory, but to target the class to those who need it most. And there's no doubt they could've done a better job communicating the specifics to students and others.

That said, I completely agree with the universities decision to make this a requirement. The health risks to our community of obesity are too large and have too much of an impact to big ignored. Now sure, some of the problem in the Black community is related to poverty and urban planning, ie lack of access to healthy food. And of course, the older you get, the less likely you are to lose weight, and policies like these would have a greater impact on school children. But college students aren't exactly adults, sorry. Though, this is more about whether or not you're set in your ways than it's about being qualified to vote. And regardless of the neighborhood, we need to empower ourselves to make healthier decisions. If you can't run outside because it's not safe, I'm not suggesting you by a bullet-proof vest and go jogging; but maybe you can do some jumping jacks or push-ups in your house?

And, I don't know. I just think the black community stands to gain a lot by improving our overall health. First off is the lives that'll be saved not to mention money spent on on health care! It's important to send the message that healthiness is important. And who knows? Once we're healthier, maybe we'll have the energy and time to invest in anti-racist activities. We don't know the impact this can have, yet.

Even if they change the particulars, Lincoln definitely needs to keep the idea. Definitely. Go Lions!

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But Don't Jack My Genuis