Tampa, Fla. – The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is calling on the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to revise its body mass index (BMI) criteria for participating in the BSA 2013 National Jamboree. Currently, the BSA’s policy excludes scouts with a BMI of 40 or higher from participating in the national jamboree.

The OAC strongly disagrees with this exclusion and feels it further perpetuates weight bias among children affected by the disease of obesity. “The BMI requirement is limiting physical activity to those needing it most and goes against the BSA’s own core value of ‘developing personal fitness.’ The opportunity to participate in the jamboree and increase one’s physical fitness should not be limited to a certain population of scouts,” said Joe Nadglowski, OAC President and CEO.

Research suggests that boys who are affected by obesity are constantly teased and bullied, and they often stop engaging in physical activity because they are discouraged or embarrassed. Today, one in three children is affected by the disease of obesity in the United States. Children affected by obesity face weight bias and stigma in a variety of areas, such as education, entertainment and more.

“The OAC is calling on its more than 43,000 members nationwide, through the OAC Bias Busters initiative, to contact Wayne Brock, BSA Chief Executive Officer, and express their concern with the BSA’s BMI exclusion policy. BMI is only one aspect of an individual’s measure of health; therefore, we strongly encourage BSA to revise its BMI policy to allow all scouts to participate and require permission by a healthcare provider for all participants – as many health conditions are hidden,” said Pam Davis, RN, CBN, BSN, OAC Chairman.

The OAC is a National nonprofit charity dedicated to helping individuals affected by obesity. The OAC was formed to bring together individuals struggling with weight issues and provide educational resources and advocacy tools.