Monday, July 15, 2013

I won't Back Down

And neither should the Boy Scouts of America.
The newest uproar has to do with the BSA's Body Mas Index (BMI) restrictions for those attending the next National Scout Jamboree.

Boy Scouts' Jamboree should include those barred due to BMI restrictions, experts say

The Boy Scouts of America’s new fitness standards for participating in the organization’s annual Jamboree are so rigorous they would not just exclude chubby tenderfoots — they would even bar many NFL players.
All Scouts were required to have a physical exam in advance of the Jamboree and those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater were barred from participating at this year’s gathering, which features strenuous activities such as hiking, rock climbing, rappelling and biking. Scouts with BMIs between 32 and 39.9 had to provide additional health information to take on the 1,000-plus acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. But critics told excluding obese Boy Scouts goes against the spirit of the organization.
“Unfortunately it still does exclude children due to their weight, but I’m sure they’re looking at their health and potential negative health consequences,” she said. “But maybe they could walk [the course] or do what they can and not be excluded. Anything that the Boy Scouts could do to compensate for the stigma of being excluded would be great.”
The Council on Size & Weight Discrimination said it "deplores" the Boys Scouts decision, calling it  "an unfair and discriminatory policy."
"There are boy scouts who are heavier than average but extremely fit and capable of strenuous physical activity. At the same time, it is patently absurd to assume that just because a boy is thin, that means he is capable of a three-mile hike up a mountain," the group said in a statement.
The average NFL player would qualify for the 10-day competition, but by no means would the entire league. The average BMI for an NFL player for the 2012 season was 31.35, according to, well above the normal range of 18.5-24.9 as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At 45.64, Michael Jasper of the New York Giants had the highest BMI last season, the website reported. The league’s average nose tackle – with a BMI of 40.50 – would also be ineligible for the Boy Scout’s Jamboree.
Obesity is not an epidemic - it is a personal choice. There is no one in the world who cannot change their diet, exercise more, and lose weight. There is a very low chance that any scout would be above a BMI of 40 and still be healthy - only a few of the top athletes in the NFL have a BMI above 40, and comparing teenaged boys to professional athletes makes very little sense.
Simply put, if a person is going to have a really high BMI and still be healthy, they are going to be a top athlete who practices a sport where weight and muscle can significantly affect a persons effectiveness.
No matter whether the BMI comes from fat, or muscle, losing the weight is quite simple, and relatively easy. There may be discrimination going on, but it is not the same as discrimination based upon something that another person has no say in - such as race. No one gets to choose their race. Everyone who can afford food chooses their weight, through a combination of diet and exercise. Weight is a choice, and thus, a valid form of discrimination. 

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