Tipping the Scales

By Laural Marselle

More than 8 percent of college students are obese, according to a survey by the National College Health Assessment.

In the spring 2002 survey, 8.3 percent of students were classified as obese.

“The numbers do indicate that obesity is increasing,” said Steve Lux, a health educator for University Health Service. “Even though the majority of students are not obese, I believe that it is a serious problem and that we need to address it,” he said.

Students who are away from home for the first time don’t pay much attention to what they eat, Lux said. With this in mind, most institutions have improved the quality of the food they serve, but that can only go so far.

“It is important to keep track of what you eat,” said Martha O’Gorman, a nutrition counselor at University Health Service. “If a student has gone through high school and maintained a healthy weight, but starts to gain weight in college, they should think about what they used to eat and how that changed,” she said.

Some students also are concerned about obesity, and some have found ways to keep their body mass indexes at a healthy level.

According to the assessment, within the last 30 days, 53 percent of college students reported exercising to lose weight, 30 percent dieted to lose weight and 6.6 percent took diet pills.

“I try to do step aerobics about three to four days a week,” said post-graduate Spanish major Colleen Keane. “It’s hard to keep up with, though. I haven’t done it in about a month.”