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Mandatory Fitness


refugee
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Heard on the radio today that Oral Roberts U is requiring all students to wear FitBits, and they're graded on their compliance. If I remember the story right, the students have a minimum standard of 10,000 steps per day, plus (or maybe it was including?) 30 minutes of daily exercise.

I wonder if they're requiring it of all the professors and staff as well?

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They require that freshmen take a mandatory physical fitness class. In the past, the students recorded their activity by hand. Now they have to buy and wear a fitbit. I think it seems like kind of a cool way to capture data. 

And I wish more US Universities would require physical fitness.

2 minutes ago, Antimony said:

Sounds like a business opportunity for some gym rats. Charge people, show up to the gym with like 15 fit bits on your arm...

They have to get the kind with HRM so I'm not sure how that would work. 

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Wow... I get their overall point but this seems weirdly intrusive and unfair to people who have an issue with walking (whether its due to a disability or ailment). Well, really it comes off as an easy way to sell a bunch of Fitbits. I think PE is a decent requirements and it was a requirement where I got my bachelor's, except the class itself was the physical activity. There were tons of physical activities available, spanning from yoga to aerobic walking. According to an article I read, they require their students to buy the pricier version of the Fitbit which also records heart rate, and has been shown to given many people a rash on their wrist. I think its great to promote physical fitness at the university but making one's grade dependent on a single thing like steps taken seems poorly thought out and more of a money grab than anything else. 

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in the 70's and 80's if a student was overweight they may not of been able to enroll....Oral Roberts was a stickler on weight.  When Richard Roberts (his son) took over it was not enforced as much...Richard was a kind person who really seemed to love the students and was a presence at all events that I noticed.  

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I wouldn't mind this, but the required steps thing is a bit much.  We had a phys ed requirement at my university.  I took CPR and Ballroom Dancing. 

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I graduated with my BA in 2005 and were had to take physical fitness classes. I took cycling, archery, and golf.

PS: no such requirement in grad school ;)

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10 minutes ago, MatthewDuggar said:

I wouldn't mind this, but the required steps thing is a bit much.  We had a phys ed requirement at my university.  I took CPR and Ballroom Dancing. 

I don't think the required steps is an outrageous amount for healthy college age adults. I too took First Aid & CPR for my PE requirement, and I actually regret it. First Aid should be required for all students, as it teaches basic safety and we practiced some pretty basic skills like remaining calm and calling for help when needed. I don't think that should be done in lieu of a lifetime type fitness. Oral Roberts has a lot of shit on their website, but I'd be interested in the hard data and if ORU finds a link between active students and academic performance. Of course, that then opens up me being irritated about students being forced into a scientific study without any consent (possibly) and also what kind of education is at ORU. I mean, they also require bible study so...

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This seems weird and intrusive to me.

I think it's good for colleges to have phys ed requirements. Mine did, and I took canoeing, ballroom dancing, and martial arts. They were all fun, and I've stuck with canoeing as a long-term hobby. I think college is a great opportunity to try out new activities.

That said, I don't like the idea of everyone being required to wear the same biometric device and report the results. I don't like that everyone is required to do a single uniform activity regardless of their personal interests or their individual fitness goals. I would be fine with this as an option for completing phys ed credits, but it seems odd to me as a blanket policy.

To me making it mandatory as the only option seems like it turns physical activity into a chore rather than encouraging people to enjoy lifetime fitness and set personal goals.

Edited by Mercer
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1 minute ago, Mercer said:

This seems weird and intrusive to me.

I think it's good for colleges to have phys ed requirements. Mine did, and I took canoeing, ballroom dancing, and martial arts. They were all fun, and I've stuck with canoeing as a long-term hobby. I think college is a great opportunity to try out new activities.

That said, I don't like the idea of everyone being required to wear the same biometric device and report the results. I don't like that everyone is required to do a single uniform activity regardless of their personal interests or their individual fitness goals. I would be fine with this as an option for completing phys ed credits, but it seems odd to me as a blanket policy.

To me making it mandatory seems like it turns physical activity into a chore rather than encouraging people to enjoy lifetime fitness and set personal goals.

I agree with you on all points. Steps walked is an inaccurate indicator of physical activity and overall fitness. I have owned a fitbit (an older model) and currently own another fitness tracking device. They cannot accurately track activities such as water aerobics or swimming, amongst many others. Yeah, you might get a random amount of steps logged because your wrist will be moving but it won't correlate well with the actual activity itself. 

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I'm also concerned that the Fitbit records information that the student might not want to have shared. I'm not sure what Fitbit model the students are getting, but Fitbit devices don't just track steps. It's not like the students are being given a generic pedometer that can't do much more than track movement - there could potentially be some serious privacy violations here.

The information the Fitbit generates is great for personal use if you want to use it, but is worrisome when it's required for everyone and has to be shared.

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Some Fitbit models have GPS. Lots of potential for monitoring a lot more than just steps. Way too intrusive, IMO. 

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Fitbits can also include sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, calendar sync, and/or caller ID.

Very useful for daily life.

Not great in terms of privacy when your administration is keeping tabs on you.

Edited by Mercer
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I had to take three PE classes in college.  Two could be of any nature (pickle ball or dancing or whatever), but one had to be a "fitness" class.  For some reason, college track (for which we got credit) counted as a generic PE class, but not as a "fitness" one.  So I had to take... Jogging.

Edited by Firiel
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Promoting physical activity is a good thing (since a lot of students do end up sitting on their butts all day -- don't I know it). This is very much not the way to do it. For one, not everyone can walk or do physical activities for any number of reasons (illness, disability). For two, I'm sure that the Fitbit could be used to keep tabs on students in intrusive ways (and my suspicions of this are heightened at a school like Oral Roberts). And for three, Fitbits are expensive. What will students who can't afford a Fitbit do?

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Wow! So intrusive. I can't imagine my university making me wear a Fitbit or even just forcing me to take fitness class or, more generally, caring whether I'm physically fit or not. In my world, university teaches you within your mayor (and maybe some general education for a bachelors) and doesn't interfere with you in any other way. No forced fitness, no dress code, no honour code, no mandatory attendance.

I think it would make more sense to offer fun fitness/sports course and classes to the students to encourage them to stay (or get) fit.

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Back when Oral Robert's was still run by Oral, in the 70s, , they didn't accept students with any disability because that damaged the image that Oral Roberts could heal anyone who needed it.  I"m not surer they ddin'te they didn't have weight rules back then as well. I know they had a a pretty serious dress code.  

 

Meanwhile, my sister's employer is contemplating handing out fitbits to all employees.... my sister says she is leery of who would get the info, and might just put hers on an osscilating fan, if they really go through with it. 

 

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I find this pretty intrusive. What are disabled people to do or people with illnesses like Asthma or severe heart issues? Or depressions? Does the university then demand a complete diagnosis? It is not the universities business to police the private life of their students or their health. If they want to motivate their students to life a healthier life, then offer free sports and healthy food in your cafeteria. Have a campus where there are incentives to walk to the classs room or the auditorium or maybe host big sporting events with prices and the like.

BUT: do not stalk your students and force them to explain their private business to you or make it part of their grades.

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3 hours ago, nastyhobbitses said:

And for three, Fitbits are expensive. What will students who can't afford a Fitbit do?

I don't know about ORU's status in the financial aid world, but in general, if an institution requires a particular item (say a notebook computer) it can be bundled into the financial aid package.  That is one advantage over requiring it.

Here is an article about ORU's program, but it comes across to me that they really didn't interview the right people at the university:

http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/college-game-plan/oral-roberts-university-track-students-fitness-through-fitbits-n507661

The article I read last night (which I cannot find ATM - hate changing devices midstream) said the information shared with the institution was limited.  

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1 hour ago, salex said:

Back when Oral Robert's was still run by Oral, in the 70s, , they didn't accept students with any disability because that damaged the image that Oral Roberts could heal anyone who needed it.  I"m not surer they ddin'te they didn't have weight rules back then as well. I know they had a a pretty serious dress code.  

 

Meanwhile, my sister's employer is contemplating handing out fitbits to all employees.... my sister says she is leery of who would get the info, and might just put hers on an osscilating fan, if they really go through with it. 

 

 I wonder if it's an insurance thing. It seems possible to me that the employer's insurance company is offering incentives in the form of lower premiums for "health-promoting" practices.

Having looked at the W2 that just arrived, I'm in shock at how much we are paying for health insurance. I mean, we're paying more than we ever paid before, and that's with a high deductible thrown in. But looking at the W2, the company is kicking in an obscene amount in addition to what we're paying.

And unless someone gets hospitalized, we won't meet our deductible and will be paying full price for every doctor visit, which makes us put off going to the doctor unless we're at death's door, for the most part.

It's not health care, it's catastrophic coverage.

I'm glad for aspects of Obamacare -- like covering chronic conditions or pre-existing conditions, and covering our kids until age 23, I think it is, whereas our eldest was dropped from our policy at age 19 and with no prospects for a job, it was a bit worrisome for her and us. Did those Obamacare changes *really* cost the insurance companies so much that we had to go from no deductible and a $25-30 copay for doctor visits, to a huge deductible and minimum $150 office visits (and that's going to the "fast-food" urgent care clinics for treatment)?

Ah, well, at least vaccinations and annual checkups are covered. I'm stupid, though, and haven't been doing the annual checkups the last few years, because if they find anything wrong, I can't really afford to fix it.

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Whaaaa? In the UK, we had mandatory gym/PE/Games(hockey, tennis, netball, swimming, soccer, rugby) at Grammar or Secondary Modern - age 11 to 18 (I'm talking the 1960s). If ANYONE  at my University had attempted to impose mandatory exercise, or the wearing of what are basically spying devices, there would have been either a strike, sit-in or riot! And definitely a HUGE falling off of applicants. This is an incredible intrusion into the private life of students - is it really semi acceptable in the US? (I am imagining the reaction at several European Universities - say the Sorbonne - remember the barricades on the streets?)

ETA I forgot the then boy sports........

Edited by sawasdee
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5 minutes ago, sawasdee said:

Whaaaa? In the UK, we had mandatory gym/PE/Games(hockey, tennis, netball, swimming) at Grammar or Secondary Modern - age 11 to 18 (I'm talking the 1960s). If ANYONE  at my University had attempted to impose mandatory exercise, or the wearing of what are basically spying devices, there would have been either a strike, sit-in or riot! And definitely a HUGE falling off of applicants. This is an incredible intrusion into the private life of students - is it really semi acceptable in the US? (I am imagining the reaction at several European Universities - say the Sorbonne - remember the barricades on the streets?)

Oral Roberts is a super Christian borderline fundamentalist private college, which are known for a lot more intrusion in students' lives (think dress codes, no drinking policies--even off campus, and curfews). 

Some public universities require one P.E. class before graduation (which I agree is a bit condescending and unnecessary). Though, I went to a large public university, renowned for its many ridiculous required courses, but didn't have to take one. 

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In the UK, you are a legal adult at 18 - the usual age to start University. I still find this intrusion into the private life of adults ......almost unbelievable. Wear a bio tracking device.. NO!!!!

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