The Boy Scouts have had their share of criticism over the years (relating to homosexuality and religious beliefs). We can now add the overweight to the list of people the Boy Scouts have rankled.

A policy comes into effect in January, which will require both children and adults to meet height and weight standards for high adventure or extreme events, such as a 15-mile trek. Here is the chart that outlines the allowable weights for the various heights.

Discrimination or Sensible Precautions?

It is easy to see how this new policy would draw the ire of many - particularly those who have been involved with Boy Scout leadership for some time such as Larry Armstrong - a long-time Tennessee-based volunteer. Armstrong, at 6-foot, 2-inches tall and about 370 pounds, may no longer qualify for some scout outings because he's overweight.

  It looks like they're trying to get the perfect person, and that's not going to happen - Larry Armstrong.

While I can understand feeling jilted, I think Armstrong's comments are a tad absurd. Somehow, many people equate such policies (whether legitimate or not - I'll get to that in a minute) with some sort of pursuit of perfection. It's like no other middle ground exists.

The idea of such a policy is in my mind a sound concept with some shortfalls. Here are 2 central issues with such policies;

Weight vs. Body Fat: Most of us are aware of the limitations of height/weight charts (Body Mass Index). It doesn't take into account body composition and can unfairly categorize someone who is actually athletic and/or muscular.

Overweight vs. Unfit: Another sticking point to this sort of policy is the assumption that all overweight people are automatically on deaths doorstep. There are people out there who are quite heavy but still very active and healthy.

The Bright Side

Part of me believes that instead of railing against the Boy Scouts and their policy, perhaps this could be the impetus many overweight people need to change their lives for the better. In my mind, this is the best way for them to fight back.

On a final note, this policy is likely a precautionary measure to avert lawsuits. Perhaps those who exceed the weight limits can sign a special waiver? Just a thought.

Source: ABC News