Once freshmen hit college campuses, they relish in their freedom. Three square meals becomes one large bowl of Ramen noodles and a grape soda. Eventually, eating Burger King and McDonalds starts to show around one’s belly, and the dreading freshmen fifteen becomes the freshmen thirty.
One school in South Carolina is taking their student’s health seriously though by requiring them to pass fitness 101, better known as COBRAFIT.
According to InsideHigherEd.com, at Coker College, all freshmen this year will take a mandatory “fitness assessment,” in which they will – among other things – receive their body mass index (BMI) score, which measures body fat; do a one-mile run/walk; and see how many push-ups and sit-ups they can do in a few minutes.
Coker College is implementing this policy in response to South Carolina’s obesity rate. A recent report named the former capital of the Confederacy, one of the fattest states in America — over 65% of South Carolina’s population is either obese or overweight.
Coker President Robert L. Wyatt and his staff are serious about preparing their student’s for life in 21st century. Wyatt, who lost over 100 pounds since leaving college, told Inside he wants students to know “the importance of wellness but the tools and techniques that will help them to achieve this state of wellness.”
Hopefully Wyatt is careful: Americans don’t like to hear suggestions about their food, religion, or guns, unless they make the first step towards opening their minds. Coker will provide new, healthier food options for their students, which will include nutritional content for items. Hopefully, this will work because it’s a slippery slope when administrators try to change their student’s diet, even if they have the best intentions in mind.
Luckily, Coker College is taking it slow, making sure they don’t put any of their students in precarious situations when it comes to fitness and nutrition. According to Inside’s report, Coker almost crossed the fine line between shaming and helping:
At one point officials considered installing scales in the dorms or setting up weigh stations elsewhere on campus, but, with eating disorders becoming an ever-increasing health issue among students, they nixed that idea.
Some critics might feel that taking physical fitness assessments are unfair, especially if the test prohibits students from progressing academically.
Inside reports that Lincoln University, a historically black institution in Pennsylvania, came under fire for its requirement that students either have a BMI score under 30 or take a one-semester “Fitness for Life” class that, like the course at Coker, mixed exercise, nutritional instruction and education on the health risks of obesity. But the university modified the requirement following the considerable outcry at widespread news that it threatened 25 students’ graduation eligibility.
FrugiVoice: Do you think more colleges should implement fitness requirements for their students? Is this fair? Should colleges require students to pass a fitness test to graduate?