Pennsylvania School Adds BMI Test for Graduation

Lincoln University will require a physical examination of students before they can graduate.

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Lincoln University's recent decision to require students to undergo a physical examination before graduation has upset some students, the Lincolnian reports. If a student's body mass index surpasses 30, he or she must complete a physical education class in order to graduate.

Opponents of the requirement say the university is discriminating against obese people, the report says. Others are concerned that their time at Lincoln could drag on longer than normal because of the new class requirement.

"What's the point of this?" one freshman asks the Lincolnian. "Some students on campus are just confused why a certain BMI has to be a requirement. Are there not a sufficient amount of prerequisites to complete prior to graduating from college?"

James DeBoy, the chair of Lincoln's Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, tells the Chronicle of Higher Education that the point of the new policy is to keep students healthy.

"There's an obesity epidemic," DeBoy says. "The data are clear that many young people are on this very, very dangerous collision course with heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—health problems that are particularly bothersome for the African-American community." Lincoln, in Chester County near Philadelphia, is one of the nation's oldest historically black universities.

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