WEB EXCLUSIVE COLUMN: Students need nutritional education

Teddy Harris

Obesity is a problem in the United States that is commonly overlooked and should be paid more attention. The National Center for Health Statistics released statistics that say 65 percent of the adults in the United States are obese. Someone who is 40% overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as is an average-weight person. This is because obesity has been linked to several serious medical conditions, including heart disease, strokes and cancer. So why do some of us live like this disease cannot happen to us?

According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the rate of obesity in college students has doubled over the past 10 years. This rise is due in part to an increasing number of colleges and universities contracting meals out to fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell. There is an absence of fresh and healthy food choices and a lack of understanding of how unhealthy food choices lead to health problems. We as college students live off of the “quick” meal. It is just more convenient with our schedules to get something to go, rather than fix a good, healthy meal. The problem is that this is a lethal problem that will catch up to a lot of us if we do not take action now.

There several factors that leads to bad health choices including late nights, bad food choices, and poor exercise habits. Most of the food that is served here at Kent State is loaded with fat and grease. I don’t think that the university is intentionally trying to create obese students, but they are definitely contributing to it. Freshmen who do not know how to eat properly are susceptible to gaining a lot of weight. Class, television, eat, and sleep is a daily regimen of most college kids. Throw a job in the mix and it only complicates the issue.

Since the university is willing to serve dangerous food to students, it should be willing to help combat obesity. There should be a mandatory class for freshman based solely on nutrition. Bad eating habits should be treated as an eating disorder and diagnosed by a professional. Too many students are eating themselves to death, and they do not even know it.

I am not saying that you should not enjoy eating. All I am saying is to be careful of what you eat. Why is it that some of us won’t drink or smoke, yet we will eat a pizza for breakfast? This should be considered a problem or maybe even an epidemic. Most of us have no idea what we are doing to our bodies. With all the preservatives and sugars added to our foods, we are all eating our ways to the grave.

Some people will argue that eating fresh food is very expensive and time consuming if you grow it yourself. But it is definitely worth knowing about. Most people are not concerned about what they eat, but due to the rising numbers in obesity, they should be. This knowledge of obesity is not being taught to us very well. We know smoking, and drinking is bad, but why don’t we have any organizations telling us eating certain foods will kill us? Why aren’t there any surgeon general’s warnings on Big Macs? Should there be? People are dying from obesity, so we need something.

Teddy Harris is a senior communication studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].