Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Skull And Dumb@$$ Bones

#1 Blogdaughter sends this story in with the tagline "I swear ... I thought this was from the Onion"

Yale student claims university threatened to suspend her if she didn’t gain weight
A student at Yale University said she was faced with an unusual college dilemma for the past few months: gain weight or leave school.

According to a report in the New Haven Register, Frances Chan said she has been stuffing herself with ice cream and Cheetos, after doctors at Yale’s health center allegedly said she was too thin and needed to gain weight. At 5’2”, Chan weighs just 92 lbs, but she argued that she’s always been very skinny – just like her parents and grandparents were at her age.
Now, yeah, 5'2" and 92 is on the skinny side, to be sure. I'm shocked, though, that a medical facility would make such a pronouncement - that she was "dangerously" underweight - and put her through such grief. And then to just magically find another doctor who *POOF* makes everything all better? I'm guessing there's more to this story - like someone looking for their 15 minutes of fame.

At least, I'd like to think that, because it's vastly preferable to the alternative. Here we have a student at Yale, one of the premier colleges in the US, who accepts, blindly, the University's proclamation that she needs to gain weight based on one medical exam? There's no mention of any independent testing, so it doesn't sound like she went to her own doctor or even another practice in the area. I'd like to think that one of the "best and brightest" would do more than just blindly follow what the college told her for six months, even though she knew they were wrong.

On the other hand, I'd like to think that Yale, that premier college mentioned in the last paragraph, would be better than simply reading one number and running a play from the book of zero tolerance. Height = X. Weight = Y. BMI = ZOMG EATING DISORDER. You'd think they
would be capable of thinking outside the narrow equation - perhaps a note from this woman's family doctor? This can't possibly be the first time someone noticed that she weighed a lot less than the average.

Then again, nothing would surprise me much any more...

That is all.


Ted said...

I suspect that now that she is no longer under the total control of her "tiger mom", ms Chan needed a quick cover story to explain the junk food uncovered durring her mom's last visit. Thus "the University made me do it ...." Which then spun out of control when "Tiger Mom" went to the Media.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Probably something in the Obamacare Decree that affects Yale's Insurance Policies.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Here we have a student at Yale, one of the premier colleges in the US, who accepts, blindly, the University's proclamation that she needs to gain weight based on one medical exam?"

Yes, but she's still just a college student - young, naive, still trusting of older authority figures (especially the older ones), and (since she's at Yale) with that trust in "educated authority" bolstered by her probably liberal upbringing. Then add in the fact that they were effectively (in her view, at least) holding her education over her head if she didn't comply, and I'm not surprise that it took her six months to try and force the issue.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, she'll be getting her freshman/women 15# by the end of the academic year.


Geodkyt said...

I'm not sure 92lbs @ 5'2", for a teenage Asian female, is necessarily an unhealthy weight.

Skinny, yes. It is below "normal". . . by 0.7 BMI, on a scale that lists a spread of BMI value of 5.4 for "normal".

And BMI doesn't take into account muscle mass, bone density, etc. -- all of which are generally lower for East Asian females than, say, North European males.

Farmgirl said...

You would think that people would look at the overall health of the person before declaring that they have an eating disorder or are "dangerously" underweight.

But they don't. Trust me, they don't. Hell you've met me Jay, you know if I could just gain a couple more pounds I'd manage to cast a shadow.

I wouldn't be surprised if this chick was looking for a lawsuit or just her 15 min of fame, but personally? The "OMGWTFBBQ YOU HAVE AN EATING DISORDER BECAUSE NUMBERS TELL ME SO" thing is not surprising to me at all. Not even a little.

David said...

I had a classmate in ROTC...a female of Vietnamese heritage...who had to gain weight during our ROTC summer camp in 1984. She did not meet the Army's *minimum* height/weight standard, and if she did not by the end of the 6-week training, she would not qualify for commissioning. I don't remember her height and weight, but let's just say she was tiny.

We were hanging out during a break in training one weekend when our Sergeant Major came by with a big brown paper grocery sack (remember those?) stuffed full of bananas and jars of peanut butter. He handed it to my friend, looked at her and barked, "Eat that"...and strode off.

She made weight. True story.

Laura said...

at that age i was 105 pounds and 5'4". i wasn't underweight. Yale's a bunchadicks if they seriously think she's underweight at that height. she might not have much muscle tone, but she's certainly not underweight.

cerberus65 said...

My wife was 5'2" and 97 lbs. when I married her. 5 lbs. less would have made her a little skinnier than she already was but def. not "dangerously underweight".

Geodkyt said...

Buddy of mine failed to make weight to enlist in the Army his first time through the physical. Six feet tall and a hair over 130 pounds. Had to eat a bunch of bananas and a two liter of soda the morning of his second physical to make weight.

Ended up as a Ranger. In Ranger School (which he went through from a light infantry unit almost a year before applying for a slot in the Regiment), as all Ranger candidates do, he lost about twenty pounds. This is normal in Ranger School -- they deliberately starve the candidates (along with over-work and inflict sleep deprivation), to maximize the stress on their decision making skills. Which is why guys coming out of Ranger School get an automatic temporary medical profile so they don't have to do regular PT or take PT tests until they rebuild their strength.

When he got back to his unit, the docs from his home unit IMMEDIATELY declared him "anorexic", based on BMI alone, and perscribed heavy duty steroids, instead of simply telling him to make sure he Super Sized his Burger King orders for a couple of months. Which turned him into 200 pounds of scary 'Roid Rage junior NCO until his First Sergeant told him, "I don't care what the docs said. Flush the pills -- you're terrifying your privates."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but doctors are definitely fallible. And over-worked, not able to review charts or tests, until you are in front of them at the appointment. And now, you see a PA most of the time instead, they are even less likely to understand a problem if it is not "expected" or "ordinary." We have to be responsible for our own health.

Personal experience, I was taking a medication that can affect blood cells, usually white cells. They were checking my blood every two weeks for six months, as we were slowly increasing the dosage. I ended up with a Hemoglobin of 7 (normal is 14); before they caught it. And yes I was asking why I was feeling tired, dragged out and had to stop to catch my breath when walking for over a month. The PA prescribed Vitamin B-12. "But your white cells are normal." And I kept asking, finally the doctor looked at the results, and frantically called me.

Will said...

I recall a sister who was told that, also. She was 88 lbs @5'1". Heck, I was only 115 lbs @5'7". My body fat was maybe 7%, and waist around 26". We were early 30's. I looked like a marathoner, but hardly worked out, mostly just skated outdoors. Rest of my sisters were similar. None of us put on any excess fat until our 50's. Family trait.

Doctors tend not to be very observant, in my experience. They just want to look at your file.