Apr 08, 2014 06:51 AM EDT
Yale Student Forced to Rectify Skinny Body Amidst Expulsion Threats
Frances Chan, a 20-year-old Yale University history major, has finally proved to health administrators that her slim figure was genetics and not because of any eating disorder.
When Chan visited Smilow Cancer Hospital in September 2013 regarding a lump in her breast, Yale Health doctors raised concerns about her weight. Chan was 5'2″ and 90 lbs., which made her BMI 16.5. A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight.
The student was asked to put on some weight and enroll for counseling and treatment sessions to remediate the eating disorder or face expulsion. One nurse even cautioned her of early death if she fails to put on some extra pounds.
Chan claimed that her entire family is lean, even though they eat healthily. She told physicians that her low weight is genetic, and she has always had a low BMI. The clinicians refused to hear her explanation and warned her of a medical leave if she fails to attend weekly weigh-ins.
Agreeing to comply with the school's demands, she devoured on ice cream, Cheetos, baked goods, junk food and avoided exercise for months. Despite eating food rich in high fat content, Chan just gained two pounds, eventually convincing administrators that she doesn't suffers from any eating disorder. It is just genetically impossible for her to gain weight.
"It felt really bad to be this powerless," Chan said. "I ate ice cream twice a day. I ate cookies. I used elevators instead of walking up stairs. But I don't really gain any weight," New Havens Register reports.
Chan further said that the university gave more importance to Body Mass Index rather than individual health condition and requirements.
"By forcing standards upon us that we cannot meet, the University plays the same role as fashion magazines and swimsuit calendars that teach us about the 'correct shape' of the human body," Chan wrote in an essay about her troubles for the Huffington Post last month.
Realizing their mistake that BMI is not the only marker of a healthy weight, the university relieved her from all the medical treatments, except for one health check a semester.
Chan hopes that her ordeal will amend the health monitoring methods practiced at Yale.
"At Yale, you're taught to be the change that you want to see in the world," Chan said. "Well, this seems like an easy thing to change."
Join the Conversation