An obese person is one who has accumulated excess body fat that affects their health negatively. This condition prompted Lincoln University to introduce a ‘Fitness for life Program’, which endeavors to, peg physical fitness of students to academic merit in the attainment of diplomas.
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It entails obese students taking 3 extra hours per week to cut their weight before graduating. However, this policy by the university has received mixed reactions since its inception, as it will be explained below, even as the first lot of students to whom the policy was applied nears their graduation.
It has been argued that the policy is segregative and, all students should undergo the fitness test, as opposed to only those who are obese. This fact was highlighted by one student of the university; Tiana Lawson, 21 in her editorial comment, in the Lincolian, by stating that she is confused by the policy as she does not understand why some people should be healthier than others. This policy would be more effective if it were applied to all students to keep their levels of fitness at par and prevent the feelings of segregation.
James DeBoy who is in charge of physical processes and activities argues that the university has limited resources. The historically black college that was founded in 1919 at San Francisco depends on public funding that is independently controlled. This eventually results in monetary constraints. If only the resources were available, then it would have been applied to all students in his view. This would then have quashed the feelings of selective application of the policy among the students.
Considering the constitutional rights of the students the policy seems paternalistic and intrusive to them. A professor of law at Temple University, David Kairys is of the legal opinion that Lincoln University is breaking new ground.
However, the part that seems unnecessary is forcing the students to engage in the practice. This is because it involves computing the height – weight dimensions to find the Body Mass Index (BMI) and the waist size, which is mandatory for students to partake. This may then create a conflict of interest between the university policies and the laws of the land.
Obesity makes an individual susceptible to certain terminal health conditions. This program according to DeBoy directly addresses the issue of obesity that is exponentially rising. All these are terminal illnesses that will eventually lead to the demise of the vibrant young men and women from college. The ‘Fitness for Life program’ will curb the possibility of contracting such ailments at an early stage.
The university risks deviating from its core function of providing education to compromising academic standards with physical fitness. Physical fitness does not necessarily have a direct relationship with academic performance. This fact was highlighted by Tiana Lawson in the Lincolian when she wrote in the editorial.
She did not go to Lincoln to be told that her weight was not in a satisfactory range rather she went there to get an edification which, as a three-time honor student, was something she had been doing quite well. This is despite the fact that she had a slightly elevated BMI.
Obesity contributes to making one both ineffective and inefficient. It compromises the on the output at the place of work as it impacts health wise on the body. Furthermore, it robs the quantity and quality of life according to DeBoy. This contributes to drastically decreasing the output of the student and being in the hunt for a job after graduating it will work to their disadvantage. The policy is instrumental in addressing such issues.
From the fore going, the ‘Fitness for Life program’ is found to have far more reaching merits as compared to the demerits both to an individual and society. The university should be encouraged to continue with the program. Furthermore, it should be adopted by institutions to ensure a healthy workforce with a high-level output and competence.