Obese Boy Scouts miss out on Jamboree

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com  |  July 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM
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The Boy Scouts National Jamboree moves to The Summit in West Virginia this year, and obese scouts won't be allowed to attend.

The event, held every four years, draws more than 30,000 youth and leaders to 10,000 acres at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve for 10 days.

Boy Scouts of America says the new participation requirements were published "years in advance" in anticipation of the move to the new "high-adventure site," and many scouts and leaders have been working to drop pounds to participate.

This year's jamboree is "on foot," meaning there will not be bus circuits or personal vehicles on site, and all participants and staff will be walking and hiking everywhere. The staff village is also 200 feet higher than the flag plaza in the Summit Center, and staff would make that hike at least two times per day.

According to their website, Jamboree activities will require more fitness than past years, with 36 miles of mountain bike trails, more than five miles of zip line courses, and activities including kayaking, bouldering, climbing, rappelling, rafting, BMX and skateboarding on the lineup.

"Anyone who is obese and has multiple risk factors for cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary disease would be at much greater risk of an acute cardiovascular/cardiopulmonary event imposed on them by the environmental stresses of the Summit. Our goal is to prevent any serious health-related event from occurring, and ensuring that all of our participants and staff are physically strong."

The Boy Scouts used the Centers for Disease Control body mass index (BMI) guidelines in deciding whether adults and youth could participate. For past jamborees, attendees received a physical and got a doctor’s release, but the BMI was added as a criteria for this year’s event.

A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while those 30.0 or higher are considered obese.

Jamboree medical staff reviewed all applicants in the 32.0-39.9 range, checking their health history and the recommendation of the individual’s medical provider. Applicants whose BMI was greater than 40 were not allowed to attend.

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