A naturally thin student who weighs 6st 8lb and stands 5ft 2in tall has won a battle with Yale University after refusing to force-feed herself with junk food to prove she was not suffering from an eating disorder.
Frances Chan, 20, was threatened with expulsion by the Ivy League university for apparently being dangerously underweight.
College medical staff insisted for months that she must gain weight. But they have now backed down after she insisted that her slight physique was her genetic inheritance from her Taiwanese-born parents and grandparents.
"I have never had an eating disorder, but all the pressure from Yale to eat more was making me sick," the third-year history student said.
"I finally just told them that I wasn't going to force-feed myself any more."
Miss Chan's problems began in September when she visited the Yale cancer centre because she was worried about a lump in her breast.
That turned out to be benign, but she was summoned back for a follow-up meeting.
A nurse told her that her body mass index (BMI), a ratio calculated on an individual's weight and height, was dangerously low and that she needed to add some bulk for her health. Medical staff feared that she was anorexic, despite her protestations.
"I told them that my whole family is skinny and that I was eating healthily and well," she said. "But they said that my weight could kill me and that I could be forced to leave college if I did not deal with it."
She was subsequently put through a routine of weigh-ins, blood and urine tests, heart check-ups and mental health counselling. All the results indicated that she was healthy, as she has always been, and Miss Chan's doctor from her home in New Jersey told the college that her whole family were small but in good shape - to no avail.
So she turned to junk food to try to bolster her calorific input and put on some pounds. "I basically asked my health conscious friends about their diets and ate the opposite," she said.
"I was eating a lot of carbs and three or four scoops of ice cream and cookies before bed. I even stopped walking up the stairs and started to take the elevator so that I did not use up calories."
Under her weight-gain diet, she managed to put on just two pounds.
But after the college health authorities said that was not enough, she decided to throw her weight around.
"If this carried on, I was going to develop a real eating disorder," she said. "I resented eating at all."
She said that she has now been told by college authorities that they accepted that she did not have an eating disorder. Miss Chan said it was right for Yale to monitor students for weight issues, but criticised the "blind" reliance on the BMI as the primary indicator for physical health.
Yale said that it could not discuss Miss Chan's case or its student eating disorder policies because of federal health confidentiality laws.