Morgan Stacy is in recovery from bulimia. She has been behavior-free for six months, which is major progress.
However, Morgan’s college is putting her recovery in serious jeopardy with one of their required courses.
Morgan is a student at Vanguard University, a four-year, private “Christian” school that receives state funding. At Vanguard, every undergraduate is required to take a class in which they must calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a ratio of weight and height. They are also required to measure their body composition via Biometric Impedance Analysis (BIA) and measure and calculate their waist-to-hip ratio.
In another lab, they are required to keep a food log and answer questions about their caloric intake like “what are you eating too much of?” Students are next given an assignment to determine the “factors” that “influenced your performance in these tests,” create a “body composition goal,” and then develop a plan for how they will achieve the results.
In addition to this class being utterly inappropriate (because a weigh-in shouldn’t be required for an English degree) and fatphobic, it’s dangerous. The University has no way of knowing the circumstances of each student — who might be on the edge of an eating disorder, who might be in the throes, and who is trying to recover. For those of us practicing Health at Every Size and/or Intuitive Eating for whatever reason, these assignments go against our core beliefs and practices and can conflict with the recommendations of our healthcare providers.
That the class exists at all tells us that the University doesn’t understand the danger they are dragging students into. They have no idea how many students they have hurt, are currently hurting, and will hurt in the future.
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