Academics and Fitness Should Go Together


By Barbara Sienkiewicz

Walden University

PUBH 6165-2

Dr. Rebecca Heick

Today’s college graduates need to receive the most complete education possible in order to enter the current competitive job market fully prepared.  They need to be both academically and physically capable of handling the many challenges that they will encounter.  Obesity is at epidemic proportions in our society and the health risks have far reaching consequences.  Lincoln University in Pennsylvania took a bold step three years ago by requiring students with a BMI of 30 or higher to take a fitness class before graduation.  This paper discusses the merits of such a policy and is directed to college administrators.

Please click the link below to read more about why I believe Lincoln University took the first step in the right direction.

Academics and Fitness


16 Responses

  1. Barbara,

    I thought this essay was full of great insight and ideas. Your style of writing really echoed your voice.

    Great job.

  2. As the CDC obesity maps by state show (see the slide show at, the incidence of obesity is a growing concern in the U.S. The author’s paper offers important practical suggestions to adults who have one last chance to influence young adults’ behaviors.

    • Hi Lynn –

      Thank you for taking the time to review my paper. The incidence of obesity in the United States must be addressed and as you stated, we have an excellent opportunity to influence young adults’ behaviors while they are still in college.

  3. This is a well written article on such an important topic. The class should be a requirement for all young people. Thanks for bringing this information to our attention.

    • Hi Candy –

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my paper and to leave a comment. I really appreciate it.

  4. Barbara, this is a timely post, as I noticed on the national news, Jan.20, 2010 First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the issue at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, D.C.

    Very good posting and I appreciate the valuable information you shared.

  5. Hi Cynthia –

    Thank you for your response and comments. I am curious now to read more about what First Lady Michelle Obama had to say with regards to this issue.

  6. Barb, your article is right on the money, and well documented. After listening to our First Lady speak on the same issue, I am convinced she would also back you on your stand.
    As a former college student myself I feel, regardless of race of physical condition when a person enters college, that is the time most young adults are susceptible to putting on the old “Freshmen 15” because they are truly on their own for the first time. This is a class that should be a requirement at every college for every student!

    • Hi Marie –

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my paper and post your comments. I was inspired to track down and read the speech that Michelle Obama just gave to the US Conference of Mayors. I am so glad that she is giving the issue the attention that it needs. Perhaps we can start to turn the tide in this country and create a next generation that is healthier and more aware of the importance of exercise and a good diet. I am hopeful!

  7. The principle behind the “Expand the Mind, not the Body” should also become part of a high school student outreach program.

    • Hi Steve –

      Thank you for your comment. I agree that bringing such a program to the high school level would also be beneficial.

  8. Hey, Barb,

    Topic is very timely with the attempts to reform health care and bring down the costs. Most people are unaware what obesity can do to your body and how expensive it can be for all of us to treat it (everybody’s premium goes up). I agree with your comment that the gym requirement should be for every student. Personally, I think the idea should be for all grade levels as gym is a requirement being dropped more and more in an effort to improve the curriculum and academic scores as well as to save money. It is never too early to teach the benefits of moving, especially to a generation that is so “plugged in” and does not need to move to do things like many of us used to. I hope more requirements like Lincoln’s keep coming.

    Good job!


    • Hi Sandy!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my paper and post your comments. I am very encouraged that Michelle Obama has decided to make childhood obesity a major priority of hers and hopeful that our country will turn around its obesity epidemic.

  9. Hello Barbara –

    Could you please go back into your post and sign it for us include your name, course / section & professor name.


    Patricia Facquet, RN, MSPH, M.Ed,N, CCRC, PhD(c)
    Research Assistant to Drs. Thron & Morrell
    Walden University
    Program: PhD in PUBH Community Health Education & Promotion

    • Hello Pat –

      I am sorry that it took me so long to make the change that you requested. I just now saw your comment.

      Kind regards,


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