Study predicts Kansas’ obesity rate will skyrocket by 2030

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A report released Sept. 18 by the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health predicts that almost 45 percent of all adults in America will be obese by the year 2030. This would be an increase from the current obesity rate, which is 36 percent for adults
and 17 percent for children aged 2 to 19, 
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state of Kansas currently has an
obesity rate of just below 30 percent but is expected to jump to 62
percent by 2030, which would make it the seventh most obese state in the
country. 

First lady Michelle Obama has been an advocate for the reduction
of obesity in children and was a proponent for the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which limits school lunches from having more than 850 calories. However, there is no way to regulate the caloric intake of students on a college
campus.

“I think college students take it into their own hands
to be healthy or not,” said Sydney Ho, a freshman in education.
“Some have really unhealthy habits. Pizza is not a vegetable.”

Other students blame the dining halls for the overall
unhealthiness of students.

“Our food is so commercialized,” said Brendan Gregory, sophomore in architecture. “Why does an agricultural school not
take advantage of our resources?”

The dining centers on campus provide a salad bar, serve fresh milk from
cows raised on campus and provide a variety of fresh fruit, as well as less healthy options like pizza and cheeseburgers, leaving it up to students to make the right choices.

“I’m happy with the healthy food choices [at Derby Dining Center],”
said Erika Peters, freshman in microbiology. “They have plenty
of options if you’re really trying to be healthy, but the unhealthy
choices can be rather tempting.”

Soda and other sugary drinks can be a poor choice for those trying to stay healthy as they can negate exercise and healthy eating, according to a Nov. 7, 2011, USA Today article by Daylina Miller. Miller also
says that college students gain the notorious “freshman 15” because of unhealthy
eating habits, lack of sleep and exercise.

“Obesity is not a joke,” Ho said. “Maybe you don’t
care about your body image in college, but when you’re 200 pounds now,
you will only get heavier throughout life.”

Most people gain weight as they age, but the predicted increase in obesity goes beyond the individual to the state and national level. Massachusetts is the third least obese state in
the country and even its rate increased from 18 to 22 percent between 
2005 and 2011.

Several ways students can avoid obesity include taking advantage of the
healthier options in the dining centers, visiting the Peters Recreation Complex, which is free to students and ensuring they get enough sleep.

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