Boy Scouts to Ban Obese Kids From Participating in National Jamboree
According to the Huffington Post, the Boy Scouts of America has announced that although there will be rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and biking as part of this year’s Jamboree, one thing will be absent from the festivities: obese scouts.
The Jamboree takes place every four years and thousands of scouts attend the 10-day event, which this year will be held at the newly designed, 1,000-plus-acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia.
The site has been designed to take advantage of the nature surrounding it, and as a result, the scouts have put new physical fitness requirements in place.Dozens of venues will test scout’s physical fitness, and at some point during the Jamboree, every participating scout will take a 3-mile trek up a mountain.
Dan McCarthy, director of the BSA's Summit Group, explains, "We saw this as an opportunity to integrate some new challenges... so we deliberately spread the site to enable us to encourage scouts and basically require scouts to move about the site by foot.”
These new requirements bar morbidly obese scouts from participating in some of the physical activities. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 17 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese nationally.
This year, the Scouts required that 30,000 members ages 12 to 20 and their leaders meet a body mass index threshold and other health factors before being allowed to participate. Applicants with a BMI of 40 or higher were deemed ineligible. Those who fell between 32 and 39.9 were required to provide additional health information to Jamboree medical staff before they were allowed to participate. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute calculates obesity as a BMI of 30 or greater.
McCArthy adds, “We required a level of fitness in order to come to the Jamboree that we haven't required before. And that has motivated an enormous return in terms of both kids and adults getting serious about improving their health."
Gary Hartley, the Summit’s director of community and governmental relations, said, "We certainly want to get the Scouts outdoors, challenge them, and have a healthy lifestyle. We talk about the three C's as kind of the pillars, and that is cardio, character, and citizenship. We have all of those embodied here."
You tell us: What do you think about the decision to ban obese scouts? Let us know in the comments.