As one of the fattest states in the nation, Michigan’s obesity rate has climbed to an appalling 60.4 percent, according to a recent study by the Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.
Surpassed only by Mississippi and West Virginia, Michigan is dealing with a serious health issue.
But obesity in college campuses is not seen as much of a problem according to University health experts. “Young people are more active and so they don’t have as many issues with health,” said University Health Services Director Robert Winfield.
Winfield said obesity is more common in older adults because a person’s metabolism changes. “If you eat the same amount of food as you grow older you will eventually gain more weight.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 14 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 are obese.
People who have received college education also have a lower rate of obesity, at 15.7 percent compared to adults who have not received higher education, which is 23.2 percent and higher.
Marilyn Nakamoto, a University Health Service nutritionist, said she usually does not see very many patients with problems of obesity. “That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, though,” she added.
Though these studies show college students in the age group from 18 to 29 are less susceptible to becoming obese, the statistics also show obesity has risen in every factor. Currently, 20.9 percent of adult Americans are obese, bringing the total number approximately to 44 million. This marks a 74 percent increase in obesity in the nation since 1991.
Obesity is calculated by using the Body Mass Index – a formula used to express the relationship between weight and height. The BMI scale was used in conducting the obesity studies by the CDC and does not account for people who are overweight.
Furthermore, a study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed 64.5 percent of Americans are obese or overweight, suggesting to some health officials the problem is connected with America’s growing lifestyle of eating fast food.
In 2000 alone, Americans spent more than $110 billion on burgers, fried chicken and other fast food items, compared with $6 billion in 1970.
LSA junior Susanna Shamban said, “A lot of people at the University eat fast food most of the time.”
“I think generally (University students) are pretty healthy. The guys on my floor all go workout,” said LSA freshman Tyler Murphy. But he added that they are not always going to eat the healthiest food.
“I think as a country we don’t eat well,” LSA freshman Mike Trevino said, adding that excerise may not be a priority for all Univeristy students.
But weight-related issues still affect many college students. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, 75 to 90 percent of American women hold negative body images.