Yale University has admitted it "made a mistake" after accusing a student of having an eating disorder and warning if she didn't put on weight she'd be put on medical leave.
Frances Chan, a healthy, and naturally slim, 20-year-old was forced to attend numerous weighing in sessions and appointments with dieticians after the institution decided she was too skinny.
Chan, who blogged about her experiences for HuffPost, gorged on ice-cream, Cheetos and carbs in order to put weight on and avoid being barred from college.
"In the past three weeks alone, I have spent ten hours at Yale Health, our student health centre," she wrote. "The medical professionals think I have an eating disorder -- but they won't look past the number on the scale, to see the person right in front in them.
"These appointments were not optional. The clinician threatened to put me on medical leave if I did not comply."
The history major, who weighs 90lbs and says she has "always been small", was told she had to put on at least two pounds. Chan wrote: "In addition to loading up on carbs for each meal, I've eaten 3-4 scoops of ice cream twice a day with chocolate, cookies, or Cheetos at bedtime. I take elevators instead of stairs wherever possible."
Since writing her blog, and after her parents got involved, Yale has apologised saying it "made a mistake" and acknowledges Chan does not have an eating disorder.
On her Facebook account, Chan posted:
"Just visited Yale Health with my parents and met with a new doctor. She apologized repeatedly for the "months of anguish" I went through and admitted that BMI is not the end all be all. She also looked at my medical records since freshman year (which the previous clinician had not done) and noted that she saw that my weight had remained around the same. So she trusts that I do not have an eating disorder and admitted that "we made a mistake." She also does not want me to feel uncomfortable coming to Yale Health if I get a flu or something. I do still have to see them, but at most once a semester. And I'll be away for the coming year, so....LET TIME BE A MIGHTY RIVER!!!"
But Chan said she had been contacted by students who had experienced similar pressure to gain weight. "A recent graduate messaged me saying that her cholesterol had actually gone up due to the intensive weight-gain diet she used to release herself from weekly weigh-ins," she adds.
"A Yale Herald piece from 2010 told the story of students in similar situations. It's disturbing how little things have changed. "Stacy" was "informed that if she kept failing to reach [Yale Health]'s goals for her, she would be withdrawn for the following semester." Unfortunately, 'the more she stressed out about gaining weight, the more she lost her appetite'."
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