Canadian University’s Athletics Department Under Fire for Removing Weight Scales from Locker Rooms: “We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive effect.”
Ottawa, Ontario — The internet has erupted into outrage after Carleton University’s Athletics department made an executive decision to remove gym scales from its facilities. Some are citing this decision as a pathetic kowtowing to the ever-demanding “safe space” culture that has been infecting colleges and universities throughout North America. Is this criticism warranted?
Carleton University’s school paper, The Charlatan reported :
A sign where the scale used to be stated it was removed to encourage people to focus on other ways of measuring their health beyond just their weight.
Bruce Marshall, manager of health and wellness at Athletics, said focusing only on weight can have a negative impact.
‘We don’t believe being fixated on weight has any positive effect on your health and well-being,’ Marshall said in an email. ‘The body is an amazing machine and even when we are dieting and training it will often find a homeostasis at a certain weight’.”
Marshal went on to explain that physical progress takes time and dedication, and that singularly focusing on one variable may not be advantageous to one’s health and well-being. He continued, “People can also set goals in terms of cardiovascular fitness and overall strength, instead of only focusing on the number on the scale.”
In his defense, many people do inflate the importance of bodyweight compared to other significant health factors. Research actually indicates that growing body mass helps to burn fat. Muscle tissue is also denser than fat tissue. These two factors prove that developing a healthier and leaner body will not always result in weight loss.
Weight Scales Trigger People
Regardless of the Athletics Department’s ostensibly well-intentioned removal of the scales, the topic blew up on social media and even in the local news. CBC News of Ottawa interviewed a local personal trainer, Carolyn Carson. She recommended, “Instead of just removing something, I thought a better approach would be to educate around other measures of health and fitness success.” She took a much more diplomatic view than others on the internet.
On Twitter and Facebook, users argued back and forth about the merits of removing the scales. Some remarked that the scales could easily trigger those with eating disorders. Others responded that the removal of the scales was nothing but a new frontier for “snowflake” and “safe space” culture at universities.
Marshal’s decision to remove the scales seems to have been neither of these things. It appears that the decision was nothing more than a misguided attempt to encourage students to think differently about their health and wellness.
Nevertheless, in the wake of the controversy, the Athletics Department may bring back the scales. Marshal stated, “We will weigh the pros and cons and may reconsider our decision.”