Obesity Major Threat for Students

Red and Black

Obesity poses a more menacing threat to the American populace than the possibility of a bioterrorist attack, a guest speaker told Terry College alumni.

On Thursday, Julie Gerberding, director of the Center for Disease Control — which is based in Atlanta — spoke on the dangers of the eating disorder.

“It’s a terrible problem,” she said. “Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and certain cancers.”

Gerberding also said the current “pandemic of obesity” is comparable in seriousness to the plagues that swept Europe centuries ago.

Alice Bender, a registered dietician at the University Health Center, said she has noticed an increase in students coming to see her with obesity related concerns.

“There seems to be an increased awareness of these types of problems,” she said.

Bender encourages students to take action early to prevent the onset of obesity and the inevitable health problems that will result.

Americans are becoming overweight earlier in life, and students must lead a more active lifestyle now if they hope to combat obesity.

“Even if you don’t lose weight, physical activity will improve your overall health,” she said.

A healthy diet also is an incremental part of preventing diabetes and heart disease — both risk factors for people who are obese.

In order to improve eating habits, Bender said, students should seek out fruits and vegetables instead of just eating junk food.

“The more colorful the vegetables the better,” she said.

The University will provide a helping hand in teaching students to eat healthier beginning March 3 as it celebrates National Nutrition month.

Erin Kile, an employee of Food Services, said students will be able to learn a variety of tips to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Displays will adorn all of the University dining halls and students will be able to calculate their body mass index, the factor which determines obesity.

Kile also said that students interested in learning more about healthy eating may contact Angela Garcia, a nutritionist for Food Services.

Gerberding’s speech to Terry alumni was part of the Terry Third Thursday executive speaker series, which is held each month at the Atlanta Financial Center in Buckhead.

The CDC director said the increase of obese Americans is an immense health problem but has a simple solution.

“People have to eat less and exercise more,” Gerberding said.

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