Thin Yale student Frances Chan says school forced her to eat

April 9, 2014

The young woman wrote a provocative article about her struggle with her weight and the school.

Frances Chan claims she felt forced to eat large amounts of food because she says school officials believed she had an eating disorder and needed to gain weight.

"They won't look past the number on the scale, to see the person right in front in them," she wrote in The Huffington Post.

"Eating disorders are common among individuals who are high achievers and let's face it, we see a lot of these types at Ivy League schools," said nutritionist Lisa Drayer.

And at 5'2" and 92 pounds, Frances Chan is small, though she says she's healthy. But after a medical check-up in September, she says university officials threatened to put her on medical leave if she didn't agree to weekly mandatory weigh-ins and medical appointments because she says they told her her weight was too low.

"Clearly, if someone has an eating disorder there will be a red flag raised according to the body mass index, but you do have to look at other factors. You have to look at someone's diet, their exercise level, whether or not they have any other health issues," said Drayer.

Chan says she started stuffing herself with carbs and junk food daily to gain weight, including, she says, three to four scoops of ice cream twice a day with chocolate, cookies or Cheetos at bedtime. The result - just two pounds, which she says was not enough for school officials. Chan says that's when she refused to swallow their rules any more.

"I don't have an eating disorder, and I will not let Yale Health cause me to develop one," she wrote in the Huffington Post.

In a statement, Yale says they can't comment on individual students' cases, but that "the health and welfare of all of our students is our primary concern."

Chan says a new doctor is now using more than just her weight to evaluate her, and Yale has agreed to let her stay in school with check-ins every semester.

Chan is a third-year history major, concentrating on the history of nationalism in East Asia, the Huffington Post said.

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