Obesity is a growing epidemic among college students as a result of lack of exer¬cise and poor eating habits. According to the Weight-Control Information Network, one of every three adults age 20 or older is obese.

“Type II Diabetes is one of the many consequences of obesity, which years ago we did not see in young adults; now, it is really common to see college students with a very sedentary life and an unbalanced diet,” said Stephanie Eijsink, doctor at the TJC clinic.

Students’ busy schedules can create a routine that leaves little time for exercise. According to web4health.com, obesity in¬creases a series of health risks including heart failure, cancers, breathing problems, joint deficiency, arthritis, emotional suffer¬ing and premature death.

“You need to eat a good diet and need to exercise every day to have a healthy life; but, in reality people are too busy. If health is not a priority, you will be working today to pay for health problems in the future,” said Roland J. Schick, professor of health and ki¬nesiology.

The old saying “freshman 15”, which is the average weight gained during the first year of a student staying in college, is no lon¬ger true. Students’ change of lifestyle during the college years modifies their eating hab¬its and creates an unhealthy routine which many keep the rest of their life.

According to surgeongeneral.gov, two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese and one out of every eight deaths in America is directly related to being over¬weight. People considered to be obese or over weight pays $1,429 more in health care costs than an individual with normal weight. Med¬icaid pays $213 more for each obese patient receiving emergency services and $230 in pre¬scription drugs compared to normal weight pa¬tients.

“I encourage people to do exercises and try to do something that you enjoy doing to get the benefits of exercise because it is not what you are doing for a day or two but for the rest of your life,” said Schick.

Andrew Banek is a TJC student who prac¬tices a new urban way of running that uses ac¬robatics, called free running. Free running com¬bines speed, strength, balance, resistance and adds fun to the concept of being healthy. His concept of exercise attracts more and more students who get together three or four times per week to avoid obesity in a very unique way. Nowadays there are many different exercises to work the same muscles in the body.

“It does not feel like exercise because it is like jogging, running but hav¬ing fun. It’s a lot of risk and rush involved and it’s good for your body,” said Banek.

A healthy diet is the main key to keep obesity and its many health risks at bay. Doctors recommend increasing physical activity, healthier eating hab¬its and improving our knowledge about health.

TJC offers healthier choices for students. A salad bar with multiple choices of combinations and a sandwich store could keep students out of fast food restaurants every day of the week. Brookshire’s will provide TJC students with healthy choices and fresh meals. The new store Fresh will provide healthy food to customers in the East Texas area. Freshologists are trained to help clients choose healthier groceries.

“If you don’t take care of your body now that you are a young adult, it will be harder to change the way you eat and the way you exer¬cise and sadly everything has consequences,” said Eijsink.

“For many people, it’s easy to go to a fast food restaurant, which is only a letter away from what it really is ‘fat food’,” said Schick.

According to the Cen¬ter for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas has an obesity level of 28 percent and every year these num¬bers are increasing making Texas one of the states with the most obese population in the country.

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