Why Does This College Care About Your Diet?

It's a fairly common practice for many high schools and colleges to provide students with free weekly planners that help students keep track of their academics and include info on important school policies, like the code of conduct. But apparently academics aren't on the mind of every school. At LIM College in New York, for example, it turns out that the free planner doesn't help you keep track of your academics — it helps you keep track of your workout regimen.

According to an LIM student who reached out to Bustle, the official school planner LIM supplies has space to record your daily strength, cardio, nutrition, and BODY FAT information, but no space designated for academics, and only a small section labelled "other." Which all seems very strange. "I was looking for an academic planner and did not want to spend money on one," says the student, who wished to remain anonymous. "I was told by a fellow student that LIM has free ones for students. I was excited so I went down to grab one." But when she got the planner, she says, "I was very surprised and taken back."

Which is understandable. I mean, you kind of expect your school to give you a planner to help Rather than caring more about your workout routine. And yet.

"I thought it was pretty ridiculous," the student says, and it is. A school should be focused on their students' academics first and foremost. They certainly don't need to be sending students the message that their diet and exercise routine is more important by handing out planners that ask you to record your weight and body fat.

LIM College, for their part told Bustle that the combined planner/handbook they hand out "contains multiple calendars, including a 12-month academic calendar that notes significant dates such as registration and housing deadlines and exam periods, which are also noted on the weekly planner.” They also noted that the first 107 pages are devoted to "information devoted to the College’s programs, policies and services, covering topics ranging from academic advising and assistance to information technology resources and financial aid."

Which still doesn't really answer the question of why provide a workout-focused weekly planner, rather than an academic one, behind all that vital school information, as you might expect.

While this obviously isn't akin to, say, a college emailing students they considered to be overweight with invitations to a weight-loss program, it still does seem to play into an overall trend of schools getting more and more focused on their students' exercise and eating habits. Which, in turn, is probably part of our culture's general obsession with everyone becoming as thin as possible.

And unfortunately, those messages aren't harmless. It's estimated that 25 percent of college students have an eating disorder — and for women, the rate may be as high as 40 percent. In light of all that, schools don't need to be sending students any more messages that they need to be counting calories or working out as hard as they can in an effort to be skinny.

So was the workout weekly planner in the LIM student handbook an oversight? Or did someone think that encouraging students to exercise, measure their body fat, and track their nutrition information would legitimately be helpful? Either way, I think we can all agree that if colleges do want to seriously address the health needs of students, they should leave that up to campus health care providers to handle on an individual basis.

The administration, meanwhile, should really try to keep their focus on academics. Muddling the two — making it seem as though your diet and exercise has some sort of bearing on what type of student you are — just gives everyone the wrong impression.