Target: The Boy Scouts of America
Goal: Urge the Boy Scouts to seek alternative solutions to banning obese children from activities
The Boy Scouts of America recently announced a new rule: scouts with a body mass index of over 40 are barred from the Jamboree as well as various other Boy Scout activities. According to the Boy Scouts of America, this weight requirement is meant to motivate overweight scouts to work toward healthier weights in order to attend these events.
However, stimulating children in this way may not be effective in teaching healthy living. In fact, it may even have the opposite effect. As the requirement emphasizes weight and not overall health, some children may resort in over-restrictive eating or other unhealthy dieting habits in order to get their weight down to a range that would enable them to attend certain events. Still others may find the weight limits discouraging and lose interest in Boy Scout activities.
Though safety reasons mandate that certain physically demanding activities exclude overweight scouts, it would not hurt to let them attend the event as banning them from outings altogether may give them a sense of rejection and alienation from their peers.
By signing this petition you will help urge the Boy Scouts to lift bans on activities for overweight scouts and to help these scouts work toward healthier bodies without pushing them into deadlines or using exclusion as a punishment.
Dear Boy Scouts of America:
I have recently learned that there is a new weight requirement for boy scouts to be admitted to certain events and outings, notably the Boy Scouts Jamboree. While I understand that you want to stimulate children to become healthier and that certain activities have weight limits due to safety concerns, I believe that overweight scouts should have the option of attending the events even if they do not participate in every activity.
Punishing children for failing to lose weight in a certain amount of time can lead to unhealthy dieting habits and emotional distress as they struggle with their body image and feeling of exclusion.
Scouts can be informed beforehand why they may not be able to participate in certain activities due to safety reasons and given the option of attending the event or not. I believe that many scouts would still love to cheer their peers on while improving their own fitness through participating in several low or normal-impact activities.
Not only will this help overweight scouts learn to live healthier lives without feeling inferior to others, it will help them maintain their connection with their peers and consequently their interest in remaining in the Boy Scouts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credits: Conrad Johnson, RDECOM via Wikimedia Commons