Yale University Threatens to Suspend Student for Her Weight (VIDEO)

A student threatened with suspension because of her weight? It happened at Yale University, and now 20-year-old Frances Chan is speaking out.

April 8, 2014
woman measuring small waist

When you think about a college student getting suspended from campus, you usually think of the reason for doing so being academic misconduct, some sort of police incident, public indecency, that schtick, right? Well Frances Chan was recently threatened with suspension by Yale University if she didn't pack on pounds. Seriously. Standing at 5' 2'' and weighing 92 pounds, Chan spent the last few months battling with Yale's health center over her low weight -- putting her in the severly underweight BMI category (find your BMI with Fitbie's BMI calculator).

This is how it went down: Last September, Chan went to have a breast lump checked at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. After examine the small-framed woman, the history major was asked to meet with multiple physicians including a nutritionist and mental health counselor, to determine if she had an eating disorder. Yale's thoughts? Since Chan's BMI was low -- she may not be taking care of herself. That's when a clinician allegedly told her that they'd put her on medical leave if she didn't comply with the school's requests to gain weight.


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Enter the junk food. For months, Chan tried to pack on pounds by eating ice cream, chips, you name it. The end result? A weight gain of a whopping 2 pounds.

"While obesity is a problem in our country, there are a significant amount of people who try so hard to gain weight and are simply unable to at times," says registered dietician and founder of fitmapped.com Anita Mirchandani. That is exactly what Chan (and her parents) argued, too.

Mirchandani points out that there are more things to consider when evaluating Chan's overall health, such as her sleeping patterns and her family's medical history. And when it comes to bulking up, Mirchandani says that muscle tone should be where the history major really focuses.

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"I'd suggest her to become stronger through weight bearing exercises," says Mirchandani. "Sometimes, the addition of muscle is an appropriate way to gain weigh. Plus, she could benefit from having stronger muscles/bones long-term."

Thankfully at this point Yale has gotten off her back, admitting that they've made a mistake focusing too much on this one particular indicator of health.

Do you think Yale went to far? Tweet at us @Fitbie and let us know! Hear more about Chan's story, here:

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