Carleton University (Canada) has removed scales from the campus fitness centre “in keeping with current fitness and social trends” aimed at people with a special sensitivity to learning their weight.
“Scales are very triggering,” Carleton University freshman Samar El Faki posted to Facebook in support of the decision. “I think people are being insensitive because they simply don’t understand. They think eating disorders are a choice when they are actually a serious illness.”
The college’s athletics manager, Bruce Marshall, explained the decision in an email: “We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive affect on your health and well-being. The body is an amazing machine and even when we are dieting and training it will often find a homeostasis at a certain weight. It takes weeks, even months to make a permanent change in your weight. So why obsess about it. Why not look at other indicators?”
Speaking on CBC Marshall suggested an alternative way (than weight) to measure health and fitness.
“Although it (scale) can be used as a tool to help measure certain aspects of fitness it does not provide a good overall indication of health and here at athletics we have chosen to move away from focusing solely on bodyweight. ”
“If you need a number to focus on in regard to reaching certain fitness goals we suggest using girth measurements. You can start by recording measurements in multiple areas, for example your torso, hips, chest, legs and arms. You would then revisit these measurements after a few weeks to keep tabs on your progress.”
Students and many others criticised the decision, a number went online to publicise their feelings.
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” Eduardo Platas posted to Facebook with a link to The Charlatan story. “Why is society becoming stupidly sensitive? So #Carleton gym removed the scale so that people won't be offended by the measurement it provides. Novel concept, don't step on the scale".
Aaron Bens, a communications student at Carleton, posted that he was “frustrated” by the “next escalation of trigger culture” and offered a common sense solution.
“We stand up for free speech and defend the books that offend certain people because of their merits. They can simply choose not to read them,” he wrote. “This is the same thing. Those who are offended by the scale can simply choose not to use the scale. Certain athletes like boxers and rowers rely on those measurements, for them (the scale) is vital,” he wrote.
Other comments were harsher. The fierce backlash has forced the college to revisit their ruling to remove the scales.
“We will weigh the pros and cons and may reconsider our decision,” Marshall said.
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