back to article Chubby Chinese students refused top bunk

The great war against the big-bellied is well under way in China, with certain uni students at a hall of residence told to bed down in the bottom bunks to avoid potential damage caused by falling fatties. Young scholars at the Hohai University, Changzhou campus in Jiangsu Province with a Body Mass Index of 28 or above or who …

  1. johnfbw

    Non-life threatening

    Like a broken leg?

  2. johnfbw

    The exercise to get in the top bunk will do them good and provide some entertainment for everyone else

    1. You aint sin me, roit
      Thumb Up

      Hammocks would be funnier!

      Especially for standard student sozzled/sexual shenanigans...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hammocks would be funnier!

        Chinese drinking culture is very different to the UK. Most drinking is done in restaurants and KTV, and although there's plenty of dirt cheap alcohol around, being a student is serious business in China, so you'll see little drinking, and no drunkenness on campus.

        Dorms are shared and single gender, with little guard huts in front of them. All urban Chinese housing is arrange in little gated communities, so the university is just a microcosm of this.

        I did in fact subtly ask a female student how this worked, and she assured me it wasn't an impediment to "student life".

        Take that mental image of drunken millennial wastrels partying in the University club, then missing their morning lecture for their useless degree. None of that resembles a Chinese university in any way. It's a totally different culture.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I put on 5Kg after having a tumour removed (going from fairly active to six weeks bed rest over Christmas) and then put on another 15kgs in the first month of chemo (it's not suppose to damage thyroids or affect other hormones, heart, blood pressure, nervous system or brain etc etc but hey, black swan me). Wonder which side of the line I would fall on now with this NHS policy.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happens when they slim down?

    What happens when/if someone forced to the bottom bunk slims down to the point where they no longer qualify for such treatment?

    Why should a tall person be forced to the bottom bunk if their BMI doesn't make them unhealthy? Tallness is not a detriment to survival unless you live in a ceiling fan manufacturing shop.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: What happens when they slim down?

      Maybe the top bunk is quite near the ceiling & it's to avoid tall folk banging their bonces e.g. not enough room for them to sit upright on the bed. Though if that's the case should do it on trunk length not height

  5. tiggity Silver badge

    High BMI not necessarily blimp

    BMI is a bit crude, e.g. incorrectly flags you as a bloater if you are very muscly

    Can't really beat simple "pinch tests" to give a quick & easy estimate of actual flabbiness, simple way to detect someone false flagged by flawed BMI.

    Although smoking and being too fat can badly affect your health, with holding treatment because of lifestyle choices is the start of a slippery slope & not a good idea.

    1. Raumkraut

      Re: High BMI not necessarily blimp

      Can't really beat simple "pinch tests" to give a quick & easy estimate of actual flabbiness, simple way to detect someone false flagged by flawed BMI.

      For use in such situations, I would hereby like to officially coin the term:

      "False flabbed".

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: High BMI not necessarily blimp

      The Simpsons covered this topic. Well, they crushed it, pretty much.


    3. SuccessCase

      Re: High BMI not necessarily blimp

      Muhammad Ali was, as measured by BMI, just a slither below obese when he had his infamous Rumble in the Jungle with Frazier. Look at photos of the man before that fight. Clearly the measurement has some issues.

    4. Don Dumb

      Re: High BMI not necessarily blimp

      "High BMI is a bit crude"

      BMI is a terrible measurement. It was development almost 200 years ago, it keeps being debunked as medically deficient, there are many better measurements and yet for some reason the NHS still use it as the primary measurement -

      When are we going to move on?

      1. phil dude

        Re: High BMI not necessarily blimp

        Yes, it is in fact not strict enough...I assume you have a specific protest or are a body builder?

        Recent data suggests that as little as 0.6g too much on your pancreas. So perhaps fat distribution is the problem? That would be one in the "genetics" camp!

        The problem with all metrics is that they need to apply to a population - and there is a prevalent dogma that as you age you get fat, rather than calorific overload and being fat. So we have obese teenagers now, that skew the population 30 years from now. So what is the right number?

        Perhaps we should all use VO2max in combination with some other metric?

        Then we could calculate "percentage of metabolic load required to maintain unused tissue", because it's all down to physics. If your mitochondrion cannot produce the energy, you are dead...

        Beer Icon. A much misunderstood food...


    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: High BMI not necessarily blimp

      I prefer the punch test.

      Someone calls me fat and I punch them.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge

    The air

    at the top bunk can also be pretty thin... maybe overweight asthmatics are at risk?

  7. astrax

    Just remember:

    There's a legitimate, methodical way of determining bottom bunk residency:

    Pinch an inch, eating's a cinch.

    Pinch a metre, you're a big eater.

    Pinch a yard, you're full of lard.

  8. David Pollard

    Obesity in China is seen as a substantial and expanding concern

    I see what you did there.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mini-lift entrepreneurs take note...

    This policy gives new meaning to the term Large and in charge.

    BTW, how come a university in China is using bunk beds? Is it that bad, economically, or is it because of something else? And if so, what would that be?

    Maybe, it's what the students are accustomed to at home? Could it be the Chinese culture favors bunk beds for young adults? Are Uni students not considered adults yet?

    I wonder if higher education is thought of as similar to a military stint? Then bunk beds would fit right in. But no military worth anything would allow fatties to exist in their ranks. Not for long, anyway, once the drill officer has had a little talk with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mini-lift entrepreneurs take note...


      BTW, how come a university in China is using bunk beds?

      It is obvioulsy as part of their training to work at Foxconn. Living in the company dorms requires the ability to use bunk beds.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mini-lift entrepreneurs take note...

        The manufacturing floor workers at Foxconn aren't going to have college degrees. Probably the supervisors and engineers do, but they may get better housing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mini-lift entrepreneurs take note...

        You are now aware that these are university students, destined for middle class jobs.

        The Chinese middle class is rapidly expanding, while ours is rotting out.

    2. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: Mini-lift entrepreneurs take note...

      Vast majority of the dorms in the US use bunk beds as well. Even Harvard, Yale, MIT, UCB, pretty much any big-name college uses them. Fraternities / Sororities, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly single-occupancy rooms. Elitism in the US is prevalent everywhere, more so in areas where everyone is supposed to be equal.

      1. disgruntled yank

        Re: Mini-lift entrepreneurs take note...

        I have not spent a hell of a lot of time in US dorms since I was in college, and am not likely to, now that I'm out of the business of turning up (or not) for parents' weekends. But I don't remember seeing bunk beds in dorms at the handful of schools I've attended or visited.

    3. Qu Dawei

      Re: Mini-lift entrepreneurs take note...

      In most residential High Schools or Universities, students stay in "dormitories" that are not like the ones that we might think of in the west. In China, they are like medium-sized bedrooms, but stuffed full of bunk beds - often 8 people per room, but sometimes 6. Students just get used to the lack of privacy and other things - they seem like fire hazards, but this is partially dealt with by limiting use of electricity, sometimes switching off the electricity supply at 23:30 each night, and having people who inspect the rooms - it's a bit like a quasi-military set up, but with less insistence on tidiness. Showers are often communal and in different buildings all together.

      In my 5 years in China, teaching there at High School and university level, I saw slight changes to what we in the west would see as being more acceptable, but it is very slow. Foreign students are almost always housed in more luxurious places, barred to Chinese students, and more in keeping with Western Standards.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Fear of fat people, being affected by gravity, in the far east.

    I know someone will improve on that....

  11. caffeine addict

    Around 100 pupils are impacted by the policy

    Well, hopefully that number will rapidly plummet. 32 feet per student squared, IIRC.

    ( or am I thinking of caterpillars? )

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken


    And then, there's this.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top or Bottom?

    Never understood why people want to climb a ladder to get in and out of bed. Much prefer to be able to climb in and out without the risk of loosing footing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Top or Bottom?

      On Chinese sleeper trains, the top bunk is cheaper and just more likely to be available because nobody wants it.

      If you're nimble and don't mind shimming up a tiny ladder, you can save money.

  14. oldtaku Silver badge

    Spare a Thought for the Fragile Twigs on the Bottom!

    Considering the safety of Chinese construction, this is probably going to save the lives of quite a few skinny little guys on bottom bunks when the top bunk comes down hard with Chairman Mao on top.

    Hell, this has certainly already happened if they're actually making and enforcing rules about it - easier to do that than to build safe bunks. And the fact that they actually care means that at least one of those dead skinny guys was the son of someone with good political connections.

  15. Dr Scrum Master


    I thought shared rooms was a pretty horrendous idea for students, but bunk beds!

  16. Stevie


    Presumably the overweight smoker will be permitted to defer that portion of his/her taxes deemed to be propping up the NHS untill they are scheduled for their ingrown toenail surgery.

  17. Bucky 2

    Kinda makes sense

    If you take it as a given that the bunk beds are poorly built and not maintained, then limiting the upper bunks to the smallest students is probably a simple safety concern.

    They are still a developing nation. There are only so many resources to go around.

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