Boy Scouts Set BMI Limit For Jamboree

Reported by: Aaron Adelson
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Updated: 7/16/2013 6:12 pm
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AAdelsonABC36

The Boy Scouts of America made a new rule for their Jamboree this year: Kids with a Body Mass Index of 40, or higher cannot come.

The scouts walking into this year's Jamboree all look trim, but according to the CDC nearly one in five kids in America is obese. 

One local parent says the Boy Scouts are discriminating.

"They wouldn't say if you're a certain race you can't be a part," said Taira Shillinger, who has two kids.

The Jamboree includes miles of hiking, whitewater rafting, and swimming.  The Director of the Barnstable Brown Kentucky Diabetes and Obesity Center says it's a safety risk to allow a morbidly obese child to do those activities.

"If the kid was excluded from being on the baseball team what would you say?  Well, you know, he couldn't make it, he didn't have the physical requirements to do it," said Dr. Philip Kern.

To put into perspective what a BMI of 40, or higher would look like in a 12-year-old boy, he'd be about five-foot-two, and weigh 220 pounds.  Dr. Kern says the boy would not have a lot of muscle.

Kern says kids weighing that much would be better off participating in something they can succeed at.  A youth trainer agrees.

"That's kind of a tough question, but I really think that getting them moving in the right way that it can be fun is extremely important to them wanting to continue exercising and moving," said Miles Noland, Noland Fitness.

But the mother we spoke with says her young son will not be a Boy Scout.

"We're supposed to love our bodies.  We're supposed to be sending them the message that they're good people, they're OK, and telling them that they're too fat to do something is ridiculous," said Shillinger.

Dr. Kern says it's crucial for kids to get out and play, but he says he understands the Boy Scouts decision.
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