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People Are Furious At This College For Making Its Freshmen Wear Fitbits

"Take the numbers out of health, and teach your freshmen to love their bodies instead."

Posted on April 17, 2016, at 11:57 a.m. ET

A Christian college in Oklahoma has raised the ire of eating disorder awareness advocates by requiring its incoming students to wear Fitbits to track their health.

Oral Roberts University in Tulsa announced the new program at the beginning of the semester in January.

Mark Moore / Via

The program is part of a physical education requirement for all incoming students, the school said in a statement.

"All incoming students will be tracking aerobics points and fitness through Fitbit wearable watches," the statement said.

The college had previously required the students log their physical activity in a journal, but said they are moving to the Fitbit to make it easier for the students.

"The marriage of new technology with our physical fitness requirements is something that sets ORU apart," the college's president, William M. Wilson, said.

Although the program launched in January, it recently caught the attention of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). The association is speaking out against the program, saying it could potentially be dangerous.

Tell Oral Roberts University to Stop Grading Students on #Fitbit Activity! via @Proud2BmeUS

The group is supporting a petition against the program, saying that requiring students to track their activity could be a slippery slope for those who struggle with obsessive exercise and eating disorders.

The petition, started by NEDA's online community for young adults, says that the program "may inspire unhealthy competition, unhappiness and stress, and could even trigger disordered thoughts and behaviors."

"Freshmen students are already vulnerable to academic and social pressures, and Oral Roberts University is introducing a Fitbit tracking and grading program that is likely to exacerbate those stressors," the petition says.

People are also speaking out against the requirement on Twitter, using the hashtag #DontTrackMe.

Take the numbers out of health, and teach your freshmen to love their bodies instead @OralRobertsU #DontTrackMe

They said the students would be much better served focusing on overall health, rather than documenting their physical activity.

I think focusing on your health and what ultimately makes you feel good and simply happy is what matters. #DontTrackMe

And some said that they had struggled personally with obsessive thoughts after wearing a fitness tracker.

#DontTrackMe Making health a competition of numbers is a sure fire way to wreck self-esteem. Trackers ruined me two years ago.

"Handing a Fitbit to someone struggling with or predisposed to developing an [eating disorder] is like handing an alcoholic a bottle of wine," one person wrote.

Handing a fit bit to someone struggling with or predisposed to developing an ED is like handing an alcoholic a bottle of wine. #DontTrackMe

The petition had over 1,000 supporters as of Sunday. Oral Roberts University didn't immediately return a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.