Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The "weighty" topic of weight bias

Last week I wrote a blog about a former Biggest Loser Contestant being sued for regaining weight post the season. You can read that blog here.

Yesterday as I was relaxing and watching my vice of bad reality tv I came across an article on more weight discrimination in the public eye. This time it focused on boy scouts. Ironically I didn't have that "I need to get on my soapbox outcry" when I read it. I wept. I wept because I once was an overweight young girl and I was forced to stop dancing (something I loved) because my dance teacher and company owner told me I was too fat. The question that came to me was how can we do this to our children?

I am a member of the Obesity Action Coalition and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are already making a statement for those scouts that are going to be impacted by this. Their facebook message this morning says it all:

The OAC is encouraging the Boy Scouts of America to allow all Scouts to participate in the 2013 National Jamboree. Currently, boys with a BMI of 40 or higher are being excluded from the jamboree and those with a BMI of 32-39 must be evaluated prior to participation. Read the latest news from the OAC to find out more: http://ow.ly/n171q

The scrutiny in which this discrimination is being played out on a national level disturbs me. These young children will be asked to be weighed for the purposes of an outdoor activities that promote being ACTIVE to combat obesity, they will be forced to disclose information from the doctors to scout leaders that really shouldn't impact their performance in gaining merit badges. Are they going to enstate a merit badge system for BMI? Losing Weight? However you spin it - the Boyscouts do not look good.

Here are some more articles to get educated on the subject:



What I found most interesting is that this is not NEW news....the BMI and "fitness" level has been published for years. It took me awhile to get through it but I did find the paperwork all scouts have to produce to be a scout: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/ahmr.aspx

One of the things that struck me was that "“We required a level of fitness in order to come to the Jamboree that we haven’t required before,” McCarthy said. “And that has motivated an enormous return in terms of both kids and adults getting serious about improving their health.”" - ok they are requiring health and fitness = outdoor activties and some of the items the BSA do participate in would require one to be physically fit - but how can you look at a child who is OBESE and tell them no you simply can't go to something you've earned because your BMI is too high.

I have two sons and I couldn't look at them and tell them that. I couldn't say nope sorry your not thin enough to go and celebrate something you've earned through the year. You can't go because essentially this organization thinks Fat is not a good thing. We'll try next year.

I'm hurt...for the kids that will be impacted by this and I'm mad an organization that just sees to like discrimination.


  1. So I just read that other post (super ridiculous that she got SUED, btw), and I have to ask... what is "WLS?" Sorry if I'm being ignorant here. :)

    And I'm sorry, but shouldn't we ENCOURAGE these obese young people to go out and be active? Why are we excluding them from activities that will in the long run help lead them to a more active and healthier lifestyle? That seems absolutely ridiculous and I cannot believe it. The obesity rates in America are ridiculous, and instead of doing something that could maybe help lower those rates, an organization like the boy scouts is telling kids that they can't participate?! And your DANCE teacher telling you that you couldn't dance because you were too fat? HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO BE HEALTHY IF YOU ARE EXCLUDED FROM ACTIVITIES THAT ARE PART OF AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE?!?!?!?!


  2. Alyx - WLS is short for Weight Loss Surgery. I had gastric bypass or RNY in Jan of 2011.

    I can't agree with you more. It is such heart breaking for me to see children excluded. Where is the support? Where is the activity? Where is the education through the BSA (an educational, leadership, and confidence building group) to assist in these boys growth. I'm at a huge lost for words!