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Scouts better be prepared to lose weight

Posted July 16, 2013

— Boy Scouts of America has instituted rigorous health requirements for anyone attending the group's national Jamboree, being held for the next nine days in West Virginia.

Hundreds of Scouts nationwide were barred from the Jamboree, which is held every four years, because they are overweight or in poor physical condition. Anyone with a body mass index – a measure of body fat determined through height and weight – of 40 or higher was ineligible for the event, while those between 32 and 40 had to provide additional information to medical staff before being allowed to attend.

Scouting officials say the new requirements are needed to fulfill the "physically fit" portion of the Boy Scout motto and to challenge youths to be more active at a time when childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are soaring.

Members of Scout Troop 755 out of Mount Olive, who were working out at Camp Bowers in Bladen County Tuesday, said they welcome the higher physical standards.

"You definitely need to show other people that it's good to be healthy and promote being healthy," said Tryston Best, 16. "When you think of a Scout, you usually think of someone physically fit, physically active.”

Camp Bowers in Bladen County, Boy Scout camp Area Scouts welcome higher fitness standards

"You've got to walk everywhere," said Jimmy Brown, 14. "You've got to deal with it."

The West Virginia site features mountain biking trails, ropes courses and a required 3-mile trek up a mountain during the Jamboree.

"They have really changed their focus from sit-down merit badges to stand-up action sports," camp director Matthew Bull said, calling the switch "the perfect move for scouting in the 21st century.

"The X Games have become so mainstream that, if we don’t change and update the things we do, we’re going to lose boys from scouting," Bull said.

Camp Bowers focuses on personal fitness, he said, noting all meals are approved by a nutritionist.

"I think all these boys (in Troop 755) would be able to go to the Jamboree," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Sherlock Jul 17, 2013

    Will not let those with a weight problem, but will let others>>> Glad our church did away with scouting program and started our own program we let the over weights in they need to learn as well but move important they let about God . A good lawyer could fight this case and win..

  • btneast Jul 17, 2013

    they could not keep gay people out so now they are going to pick on fat people. Why not focus on being an INCLUSIVE organization that promotes healthy eating habits and exercise instead of excluding people who don't fit what you think boy scouts should look like.

    no one is being picked on, and it isn't about what they think a scout should look like. To do the activities there SAFELY, you have to be in reasonable shape. There are some activities in life that require a certain degree of fitness in order to do....whether in recreation or work. Would you want a severely obese firefighter that can't catch his breath to be the one to try to carry you out of a burning building? There are limitations in life....deal with it. Everybody can't do everything. Life isn't fair, it just is.

  • btneast Jul 17, 2013

    What "merit" is a badge from an institution that causes further stigma and bulleying.

    It's not bullying.....it's just life. Everybody can't do everything.

  • sunshine1040 Jul 16, 2013

    Yes some weight problems are medical but then if you have medical issues then you do not need to be rock climbing , mountain climbing some swim competitions unless a medical Doctor clears you. I do not want to read about a scout that died while learning how to be a lifeguard when he could not pass a physical

  • chrisnrali Jul 16, 2013

    mister jay, you need to see a therapist, stat! Being fat or overweight is not a "stigma" or "bulleying". It is a serious medical PROBLEM.

  • whoami Jul 16, 2013

    Congrats on the determination, hangry!

  • Mister Jay Jul 16, 2013

    Some weight problems are medical in nature and have nothing to do with eating or exercise habits. Are those scouts that are physically handicapped treated with such stigma? What "merit" is a badge from an institution that causes further stigma and bulleying.

  • hangry Jul 16, 2013

    These guidelines are well publicized. Anyone who goes on a high adventure program with BSA knows well in advance. I am going on one this summer. My weight was over the limits for my height based on the guidelines. I spent the last year working with a dietician and exercising and lost 50 pounds to get ready. I think it is a good thing.

  • thewayitis Jul 16, 2013

    A kid would have to be really overweight not to qualify for Jamboree. I don't think there is one boy in my son's troop who would be excluded from Jamboree based on weight. Really overweight kids are not interested in Boy Scouts as a general rule.

    This is just another attempt to discredit the Scouts.

    I'm tired of it.

  • ntorborg Jul 16, 2013

    There is an addendum the the BSA Medical form, specifically covering all activities at all the "high adventure" camps. The guidelines tell the Scout and his folks what the range is; there's also an "acceptable over"
    "Participation at any of the BSA’s high-adventure bases can be physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. To be better prepared, each participant must complete the following before attending any high-adventure base. Weight limit guidelines are used because overweight individuals are at a greater risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, altitude illness, sleep problems, and injury. Those who fall within the limits are more likely to have an enjoyable trek and avoid incurring health risks." This table is based on the revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the Dept. of Health & Human Services.
    You can also be too short or light for some activities involving portaging canoes and wearing large frame-packs.