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Underweight Dr will not clear for all activities

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Has anyone had this happen? I am asking for a friend. My DS is a bean pole of a boy and has always been on the skinny side. He has never had his DR not clear him for activities..based on the weight chart that is on they physical form.


My friend emailed me...frustrated as her sons doctor will not clear him for, back country treks and climbing/repelling because he did not "make weight" ie he is underweight. He is also built very much like my son..the bean pole kid.

That is the only reason the Dr will not clear it..is he is under the standard for the min.


IS the Dr interpreting this chart incorrectly?

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There are several different physical forms out in Scouting land. The latest form is BSA 36405 dated January 2009. That's supposed to be the universal form for all Scouting outdoor activities (including the high adventure bases).


There are a couple docs on this board, and hopefully they will come by to give their thoughts. Absent that, I'd call your friendly District Executive, and ask for the contact info for the Council Surgeon. (Many, not all Councils have a physician volunteer who provides medical advice to the professional staff and the executive board. That's who the Surgeon is. If your Council has one, he's usually a member of the Health and Safety Committee).


Then, call him, explain your sons' situation, and ask him to contact your family physician.


One alternative: If you'd like to have your son take some ownership in this, after getting the contact info from Council, have your Scout make the next call.


Thinking on it a little further: Your doc is making a professional assessment of your Scout. While the folks here can give you some thoughts, you really do need to resolve this locally. Your doc will accept a consult with an area physician he knows. Do you think he's going to buy info from a web-board as competent consultation?(This message has been edited by John-in-Kc)

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John, you are absolutely correct about the value of a web-board towards resolving this, YET - you have given valuable insight the OP may not have had on how she could handle it locally - thus proving the value of the web-board.

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I am not a physician, nor do I play one on TV, But I do work around a lot of them and their research for them ;) IMHO physicians will only listen to other physicians.


My recommendation is the follwoing.


#1 get the contact info for the council physician. Every council that operates a CSDC, CS Res. Camp, and BS summer camp MUST have one.


#2 Talk to talk the original physician to get more details, i.e. is the HW guidelines the sole concern or are there others..


#3 Give the contact info for the Council Physician to the family physician so that he can have a consult.


#4 if no consult, contact Council Physician.

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jemek, you say that the boy's weight not meeting the recommendation on the chart is the only reason the doctor has not cleared the Scout for high adventure. I think you need to consider the possibility that the boy's mother either misunderstood what the doctor said or isn't telling you the whole story. And you can't really confirm what the doctor said, because it isn't your child and the doctor can't talk to you about it. I think you have to leave it to the boy's mother. Eagle92's advice is good advice for her to follow, in fact his #2 is basically what I am suggesting above. She should first make sure that this is the real problem. If the boy is grossly underweight it may be indicative of other problems, or the cause of other problems, that cause the doctor to err on the side of caution and disapprove the boy's participation in strenuous activities. We are not talking about hiking in town or canoeing here, we are talking about activities where you really do need to be at a certain level of physical strength and health to safely participate.


I myself am somewhat in the same boat, on the other side of the river -- I would need to shed a few pounds to participate in the same kind of activities under the new chart. Of course, it wouldn't hurt me to do so anyway.

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I know some folks love the new physicals, but I am not one of them. I and others foresaw the confusion that the H/W chart and 30 minute guidelines would cause. Heck in some places the 30 minute rule would prevent units form having meetings if their leaders didn't meat H/W guidelines. And yep there were folks who said that docs would not approve folks underweight.


Also I know one young man who doesn't meet the lowest height listed, but is in very good shape


Also although I have not met anyone with the problem described below yet, probably will in 2 weeks, but I've been told in the districts in my council that have Marines stationed in them, there are a few leaders who are "Overweight" by the H/W guidelines, but can score a perfect PT score. Yeah I am going to tell a leader just back from combat ops in A'stan that they are "overweight" RIGHT!!!!


And according to the form or the FAQ national posted; OA Ordeals fall under the section B being required.


Sorry for the rant



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Also One reason I read somewhere for the new form was so that 1 form could be used for all activities. however


according to this from the FAQ, there si stuill multiple forms the BSA uses,d espite the attempt to get to one form fits all. :(


Q. Why cant I use the Annual Health and Medical Record for participation at the high-adventure bases?

A. The high-adventure bases have very specific activities that are unique to each of them. They each provided valuable input to position the Annual Health and Medical Record for use in the future. YOU are responsible to Be Prepared for your high-adventure trek and understand and follow all high-adventure base rules, procedures, and guidelines.



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one thing I just noticed on the latest editions of the from: they now include a body fat percentage IF you are under 295 pounds. Apparently the Max weight, even if you are under the 25 % body fat for men, 31% for women, is still 295.


I guess the 6'10" 300+ pound Marine with a perfect PFT scote I've heard about still cannot do High adventure activities, despite a tour or two in A'stan.


EDITED: at least national has listened to some of us and add the body fat % to the form.(This message has been edited by Eagle92)

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Thank for the suggestions..on what route she needs to take.


I looked at the chart on the new form and even my string bean..Now 19 year old Eagle Scout would have been underweight...by about 20 lbs when he went on the Philmont Trek.


Her son is quite active in all aspects, he is active with baseball and track. He eats healthy.


I did specifically ask if there was ANY other reason the Dr gave other then him being underweight and she told me no. Other then that he is in great shape.


I will pass on the suggestions of the route she needs to take. Right now she is not overly concerned as they do not have any back country/climbing type activities planned.

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It wasn't an issue with the doctor, but, the troop wanted to backpack, so we did. One boy was too skinny and weak, he literally dropped his pack on the trail because he couldn't carry it. One of the older boys was a football lineman and carried two packs. We rigged the boys pack and a stick, but it was still "too heavy". It was a short trip, but he was just too weak.


A scout should be able to carry his own pack or not go.

Just my opinion.

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I do not think skinny and weak is the issue in this situation. A person can be skinny and handle their pack. I would say that maybe the child you mention has other health issues that account for his weakness. I have a daughter who has hypotonia it is low muscle tone and compared to her peers she is way weaker then they are...we know her limits...and even though she is in an active Camp Fire Club, she does not go on the longer hiking trips and she can not even begin to carry anything more then day pack.


My friends son...has never had to have anyone carry his back pack. He has been on many 5-15 mile hikes with no issues. Even my bean pole son..went to Philmont Trek 2 years ago...based on the chart on the current form..at that time he was 19 lbs under the lowest weight listed.




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In our case, I suggested to the mom that he wait until he was a little older and a little stronger before he go backpacking again.


Mom became upset and insisted he go on all trips. I was astounded! He couldn't carry his pack. This scout was too weak.


All I'm saying.

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It seems there is a little more to the story than we have been told. The new form states


Risk Factors

Based on the vast experience of the medical community, the BSA has identified that the following risk factors

may define your participation in various outdoor adventures.

Excessive body weight

Heart disease

Hypertension (high blood pressure)



Lack of appropriate immunizations


Sleep disorders


Muscular/skeletal injuries

Psychiatric/psychological and emotional difficulties


Nothing about being underweight. I go agree with Gonzo that the boy should be able to carry his own pack.

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Gunny: You're right, of course: We can give insights to a glide path. The Council Surgeon and the family physician can sort it out.


jemek: Good hunting on the consult for this Scout.


Ed: This is one of those times we don't need to know.

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