American Obesity Rate Rising
Report says 73 percent of adults will become overweight by 2008
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The 50 cents it costs you to super size your meal may well cost you more in medical bills in the long run.

One hundred and nineteen million, or 64.5 percent, of American adults are overweight or obese. For Hispanics and African Americans, the rate is even higher. In 2008, a projected 73 percent of American adults will be overweight or obese. These staggering statistics are part of a 2005 report called “F as in Fat” released by Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit organization working on disease prevention as a national priority.

For many SF State students, obesity and being overweight are as far away as finding a good paying job in the same field as your degree. For others, the issue is more prevalent.

Tyne Johnson, 19, said that weight is on her mind every time she shops for clothes.

“It’s awkward shopping,” said Johnson, a size 11 sophomore. “I can’t fit into anything so I don’t like shopping.”

The crisis extends far beyond finding a cute outfit. According to the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), being overweight or obese increases an individual’s risk of developing over 35 major diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Obesity contributes to about 66 percent of heart disease, 20 percent of cancer in women and 15 percent of cancer in men, according to the CDC.

Danielle Barcy’s aunt nearly died from Type 2 diabetes.

“My cousin came home and she (the aunt) was on the floor,” said Barcy, a biology major.

According to Teresa Leu, registered dietician, nutritionist and health educator at SF State, the overwhelming cause of obesity and being overweight is poor diet and lack of exercise. To prevent obesity or being overweight Leu suggests listening to your body.

“Distinguishing physical (hunger) from non-hunger, emotional, stress eating (is a major key),” she said.

“Some students underestimate how much they need to weigh. If a student is athletic and has a substantial amount of muscle, he/she can hold more total weight. Other students set unrealistic weight goals due to society’s definition of beauty,” said Leu.

Leu added that students seeking advice can make an appointment with the nutritionist at the Student Health Center.

Students can also incorporate exercise into their class schedule by enrolling in the many exercise classes offered by the kinesiology department. Another option is going to the open workout hours for the gym and pool.

“Students do not need to go on a fad diet to lose weight,” said Leu. “A moderate improvement in the diet teamed with increased exercise can lead to healthy weight loss. Slow weight loss stays off better and leads to more body fat loss than muscle loss.”

Whether it’s increased exercise or a better diet, adult Americans will have to learn how to deal with this growing problem that some have called a national epidemic.

“I do kung fu because its part of general education,” said Johnson, “but my breakfast is usually a Snickers and a Coke.”

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PHOTO
Ariel Zambelich | staff photographer
Fast food restaurants like McDonalds can be found throughout San Francisco- including right next door to SF State at Stonestown Galleria.

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