Obese scouts can't attend national jamboree

Scouts with a BMI over 40 had to slim down if they wanted to participate

By Alex Halperin
Published July 16, 2013 6:13PM (EDT)
     (Reuters/David Manning)
(Reuters/David Manning)

Barely a month after lifting its ban on gay scouts, the Boy Scouts of America has a message to its obese members: get fit or stay home. The National Scout Jamboree, a 10-day festival of hiking and other outdoor activities, begins this week and larger scouts aren't welcome. While obesity is a major public health crisis, one wonders if the Scouts might be better served by trying to address the crisis of its image problem.

Medical Daily reports:

In order to merit invitation to the jamboree, Scouts and leaders had to pass a rigorous physical fitness test and go through a screening process that calculated their body mass index (BMI). In past years, applicants needed only receive a physical and fill out a few health forms before attending the jamboree. This is the first year the Boy Scouts have required BMI totals to attend. For applicants whose BMI exceeds 40, no invitation will be issued.

BMIs of 25.0 to 29.9 fall in the overweight range, while those 30.0 or higher are considered obese, the Boy Scouts said.

For BMIs in the 32.0-39.9 range, applicants had to receive approval from the Jamboree medial staff, including a check of their health history and the recommendation of the individual's medical provider.

A 5-foot-8 scout who weighs 210 pounds has a BMI of 31.9. To have a BMI of 40, he'd have to weigh 263 pounds. According to the CDC, in 2010 18 percent of adolescents qualified as obese and one-third were overweight or obese.


Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Boy Scouts Gay Gay Rights Health Obesity