The Columbia Chronicle

Few students show interest in Winter Olympics

By Katy Duffy

February 26, 2018

The greatest challenge as a fan of the 2018 Winter Olympics at Columbia is finding someone who shares your interest, said Tori Levin, a sophomore American Sign Language-English interpretation major, who described discovering other Olympics fans as “few and far between.” Because sports fans on campus are rare, there are very few sports opportunities at Columbia. The Student Athletic Association lists seven active sports leagues on its website, bu...

Ugly politics: Jabs at Trump’s looks will not create change

Ugly politics: Jabs at Trump’s looks will not create change

February 19, 2018

On Feb. 7, President Donald J. Trump boarded Air Force One on a fatefully blustery day. The wind lifted his thinning hair off his head, exposing a large bald spot beneath. Shortly after, the ruthless ...

In his first public appearance since leaving the Oval Office, Barack Obama inspired the next generation in a April 24 panel discussion at the University of Chicago.

Obama encourages next generation in welcomed return home

April 24, 2017

Former President Barack Obama returned to his adoptive home April 24 for his first public appearance since leaving the White House. At the University of Chicago, where Obama previously taught constitutio...

Graphic artist compares average male body shape across countries


By Assistant Sports & Health Editor

December 1, 2014

The average body mass index of the American male aged 30–39 is 28.6, nearly one point away from the medical qualification of being obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Na...

Women Who Yell

Women who yell debuts at Columbia

March 31, 2014

Columbia's campus will be filled with the sound of shouting women April 4 and 11 as a part of a student project titled “Women Who Yell.” Six students in a Writing and Rhetoric II Honors course, taught by Ames Hawkins, associate professor in the English Department, will create a...

Happily unhealthy: A case study of sports fans

By Lindsey Woods

April 30, 2012

The fragrant, distinct smell of spicy buffalo wings, the familiar crack of a beer being opened, face paint and foam fingers can only mean one thing: It’s game time.The game day activities many fans relish are undoubtedly unhealthy, but new research published in The Sport Journal suggests that poor eating and drinking habits may extend beyond game day.According to the study co-authored by Daniel Sweeney, a professor at the ...

Virtual badges earned online no replacement for diploma

By Lauryn Smith

February 6, 2012

Playing your favorite online games could potentially enhance your education and job prospects. A new trend in higher education has students and recent grads earning online badges as credentials or achievements that they can list on their resume. While this could be a fun and innovative way to learn certain skills, these badges should not replace traditional coursework.Using virtual badges as trophies or symbols of accompl...

West Loop Walmart not a bad idea

By Editorial Board

March 14, 2011

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced plans to open a West Loop store, and the debate regarding it has erupted with all of the typical anti-Walmart arguments. Critics say the chain retailer will hurt local businesses, and the company’s unpopular employment practices will hurt the community. But much of the criticism against this latest store has more to do with the Walmart name—the stigmas attached to the brand—than any subst...

Schools need to re-evaluate pros, cons of BMI testing

By Katy Nielsen

January 31, 2011

The measurement of students’ body mass index continues to be used in schools across the country, despite evidence it may be an outdated system. Recently, BMI was used as one of six tests at Hawthorne Elementary School in Elmhurst, Ill., to determine the overall physical fitness grade on students’ progress reports. The data are typically collected anonymously, but this is clearly not always the case.The Elmhurst school stopped the practice after parents met with school officials on Jan. 18 to express their concerns about using the data for student grades. There are schools across the United States that continue to grade students based on their height and weight scores. Despite the fact that obesity is on the rise in America—and all across the world—the issue should not be addressed in a school environment.“The purpose of BMI surveillance in schools is to identify the percentages of students in the population who are obese, overweight, normal weight and underweight,” according to an article in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.The index does not take different body compositions into account. Muscle weighs more than fat, so someone who is more muscular and not overweight could register as overweight on a height and weight chart. The most commonly used alternative to the BMI system is body fat percentage, which rates body weight according to how much is composed of fat versus lean tissue, but this is not a universally used test.Height and weight screenings in schools, especially if they are tied to grades, could significantly contribute to the pressure children already feel to look a certain way. This might worsen stigmas surrounding obese children, increase body image issues and lead to eating disorders. Parents might respond inappropriately to BMI reports by placing their child on a restrictive diet without seeking medical advice, for example.One argument for using BMI screenings in school is obese students do not have an accurate perception of their body weight; therefore, the screenings point them to concrete statistics, which are supposed to help address their weight problem.According to studies, BMI testing in schools is ineffectual in preventing obesity. The number of obese children keeps rising, but taking these measurements is not going to fix the problem.A 2004 study titled “The Association Between Weight Perception and BMI Among High School Students,” found of 2,032 high school students, 26 percent of overweight students considered themselves underweight and another 20 percent thought of themselves as “about the right weight.”Obese youth have inaccurate body-image perception. However, there is insufficient proof that once students know their true status, they actually make any significant changes, such as eating healthier and exercising. Publicly taking people’s weight or grading students based on it would only add to their psychological problems.If schools decide to continue with BMI measurement programs, the AAP recommends school officials consider whether the program’s anticipated benefits, like preventing obesity and correcting weight misperception, offset expected costs such as psychosocial problems, including eating disorders.To minimize those negative consequences, the AAP explained, schools should not launch the program unless they have “established a safe and supportive environment for students of all body sizes, are implementing comprehensive strategies to address obesity and have put in place safeguards that address the concerns raised about such programs.”My problem with this recommendation is school officials cannot know they have created a safe and supportive environment for students. Many young people feel insecure, especially about their bodies. Regardless of what a school tries to do to curb anxiety junior high and high school students feel, that negativity will persist. It is perpetuated by students’ peer groups, what kids see on television, their own insecurities about their bodies and so forth.Schools are not to blame for obesity in children, though. Weight is a personal, private issue that concerns families and doctors, not teachers. Until further research about its impact is done, BMI testing in schools needs to be stopped and definitely removed from the grading system.

Obesity still an issue for U.S., despite steady numbers

By Ivana Susic

February 1, 2010

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that obesity rates in the U.S. have stabilized in the past five years. Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the paper stated the rate has evened at nearly 34 percent. If the number of overweight people is added into this figure, that number jumps to almost 57 percent.While this percentage includes all age groups, college students are by no means u...

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