Obese Boy Scouts will not be allowed to attend the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.
Event organizers warn that kids attending the event will undergo a lot more physical challenges than in the past, and therefore they will need to be in decent shape. As part of acceptance into the event, Boy Scouts must undergo a fitness exam which includes a screening tool for obesity.
The Boy Scouts have recently moved to a new location for the Jamboree, which now sits on 10,000 acres in the southern part of the Mountain State.
Despite the massive area covered by the event there, NBC News reports that there will be no buses or other personal vehicles allowed. That means everything will be done “on foot” and often on hilly inclines.
Obese Boy Scouts would also be faced with sports that organizers fear they wouldn’t be able to complete. Sports include climbing, mountain biking, rappelling, rafting, and skateboarding.
On its website, the Boy Scouts of America writes:
“It is essential that all participants and staff are prepared for their Summit jamboree experience. Our goal is to prevent any serious health-related event from occurring, and ensuring that all of our participants and staff are ‘physically strong.’”
While some people may have a problem with the obese Boy Scouts rule, the agency did post its height and weight requirements years ahead of time. The organization hoped that by publishing the rules, it would force scout leaders to work with their scouts to shed unwanted and dangerous pounds.
The height and weight requirement could mean that upwards of 33 percent of all Boy Scouts won’t be able to attend the jamboree. According to a 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of all American children are overweight or obese.
Obese Boy Scouts are determined by using the CDC’s guidelines for body mass index (BMI).
Obese adults will also not be able to attend the event as organizers try to set an good example for children in attendance.
A BMI of 40.0 or higher will exclude children from attending the 2013 Jamboree event. The CDC considers a BMI of 30.0 to be obese, which means there is some leeway for fatter children. Boy Scouts whose BMI fell between 32.0 and 39.9 were individually checked by medical professionals for clearance.
Whether or not you agree with the Boy Scout rules, they are truly meant to protect everyone at the event. With more than 30,000 participants expected at the Jamboree, there simply isn’t enough help to monitor every single at risk child who may attend.
Do you think banning obese Boy Scouts from the 2013 Jamboree was a responsible decision or a move that will ultimately act to further alienate those children?