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January 4, 2012 at 8:54 AMComments: 4 Faves: 0

Should students get graded...on their WEIGHT?

By Laura Hogg More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the FitChatter Blog Series

Welcome back to FitChatter! In today's news - a controversial recommendation from French diet guru Pierre Dukan: should students get extra marks for maintaining a healthy BMI?

French diet guru Pierre Dukan thinks he has the solution to France's child obesity issues.

His plan? Reward slim students with extra marks.

Under this plan, students would be allowed to take an "ideal weight" option in their last two years of high school that would reward them for maintaining a "healthy" BMI (between 18 and 25). Overweight students would get double the points if they were able to slim down over the course of two years. Dukan - whose popular super-high-protein "Dukan diet" was named the worst of 2011, lest we forget - calls it a "fantastic motivator."


Admittedly, specific details about his program are scarce, but regardless, certain facts remain. For one thing, BMI - while it can be useful in some cases - is not an accurate representation of a person's physical fitness. Case in point: in the prime of his career, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a BMI of 33, putting him firmly in the "obese" category. Whether or not bodybuilding is your thing, you've got to admit, that's kind of weird.

Dukan's plan also doesn't allow for people who are naturally slim... and eat horribly. I know a girl who is thin as a rail, eats more than anyone I know, and tries desperately to gain weight. I doubt she's gained a single ounce in all the time I've known her. She'd get an A on this plan without lifting a finger. Yet there are people who try for years and years and, for various reasons, can't shed the pounds.

Dukan insists that this plan is not intended as a punishment for overweight teens. "There is nothing wrong with educating children about nutrition," he says. "This will not change anything for those who do not need to lose weight. For the others, it will motivate them."

Okay, Pierre. I'm with you that people (especially teens) need to be more educated about nutrition. I remember getting some vague lessons about it at some point in my academic career, but it was definitely inadequate. But that doesn't mean that we should punish overweight kids further. I give this plan a big "F."

What do you think? Is Dukan out of line? How would you change his plan - or would you scrap it completely?

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  • Seems like they'd just HAVE a nutrition class??? Grade students on that. Make it every year, like English or Math classes. Why not grade physical education with more than a +/- or S/U (at least the schools I'm familiar with)? Run a grading system based on the students personal improvement over the course of the year. Maybe integrate PE and Nutrition into one real class with a grade that counts?

    I'm sure there are lots of better ways than giving skinny kids A's and fat kids F's. How stupid.

  • Yeah I agree with Seth. I think it's ridiculous to reward students with extra marks for getting into the "healthy" BMI range. It's not fair to those who would have to work extremely hard while other students can eat whatever they want and not workout and not gain a pound.

  • Well, it's not that they'd give fat kids F's. There would be no punishment for the kids that chose to participate if they fell short of the ideal. However, you both have a good point. Some people are naturally skinny, others are naturally built more solid. I think Seth has the right idea. Rather than allowing them extra credit for their BMI, use another more precise measure of their health efforts. Extra credit for a log of their healthy eating and fitness habits.

  • I think it is a viable idea but with a few adjustments! Actual education about nutrition and having PE for more than just a semester required to graduate are good steps. But i think it would just add extra motivation if you could lose weight and get extra credit toward your total gpa. The "fat" kids would actual have the advantage because academically they have more potential to get higher grades. Its absolutely insane. I love it.

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