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Students weigh in on RPAC changes

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

Ohio State’s RPAC caused a stir when students returned to the facility after winter break to find its scales had been moved and removed.

The scale in the main weight-lifting area was moved behind the area’s information desk, and two others on the first and third floors were removed completely.

Sarah Carnahan, a graduate student and member of OSU’s Body Image Health Task Force, said the idea to move the scales had been debated since September.

Carnahan said moving the scales from their former positions in the RPAC was a decision made to remove the emphasis on weight loss. She said there are still scales in the locker rooms and one behind the desk in the weight area.

“(It’s) a good way to see what happens if we change the environment,” Carnahan said. “(I have been) concerned about how the scales brought everything back to a weight focus.”

She said the environment of the RPAC had previously been more geared toward monitoring one’s weight, a quality of the workout facility that she said negatively affected its customers.

Not everyone agreed.

In the days following students’ return to campus, responses to angry patrons who tweeted complaining about the removal of the scales filled OSU’s Rec Sports’ Twitter feed: @OSURec.

“You can still find the scales behind the Fitness Floor desk or in the locker rooms,” was the response given to these angry tweets.

Maria Kenngott, a second-year in English, said it was unnecessary to remove the scales.

“Obviously if you’re at the RPAC it’s not just for wellness, you are doing it for a purpose — you probably want to lose weight or keep track of your progress somehow. Weighing yourself is a big part of that,” Kenngott said.

However, other students agree with Carnahan that this move is a step in the right direction for OSU.

Xavier Thompson, a second-year in athletic training, said many men go to the RPAC to complete the cycle of sweat, check weight, sweat more. Thompson said they aren’t actually accomplishing anything. The absence of scales could discourage this routine.

Beau Cross, a second-year in sport and leisure studies, agreed with Thompson and said he thinks the removal of the scales was a good idea.

“A lot of people work out not to better their health but to lose weight. They’re just trying to look better, but looks aren’t everything,” Cross said. “It is unnecessary to check your weight while you work out.”

While the reaction is mixed, Carnahan said response to the motion has been mostly positive. The task force anticipated a partially negative reaction, but Carnahan said any kind of feedback was positive, because at least people are talking about the issues of weight control, obesity, eating disorders and general wellness.

“(I hope) more people will be thinking about exercise and fitness,” Carnahan said. “Working out can become self-affirming rather than having a focus on losing weight.”


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