Food stands on every corner, oversized “American” portions, anda surplus of lackadaisical starches — better known as couchpotatoes- due to unemployment, could be the reason Louisiana leadsthe nation in childhood obesity and is ranked the fifth obese statein the country.
Whether this increase in girth is all the blame of the fast foodindustry, a lack of physical activity, or a mixture of both, theundeniable fact is Louisiana is bigger than ever and that alone canbe fatal.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, oneof the leading causes of death in America is heart disease, andbeing obese dramatically increases that risk.
In response to this alarming and dissatisfying news, the firstand only female governor of Louisiana, Gov. Kathleen Blanco,decided to take action. Her plan, adopted from the Lighten Up Iowacampaign, started Aug. 30, and in retrospect is called Lighten UpLouisiana. LUL is a five-month competition that will end Jan. 31,2005, and encourages Louisianans to form teams and engage infriendly competition in an attempt to develop healthy activity andeating habits.
Small incentives will be given to those groups that show themost improvement and the team that wins will be awarded a dinner atthe governor’s mansion. Teams are to be no less than two members,no more than ten members, and everyone is eligible to join.
With a mission to make “Fair Dillard” a more health consciencescampus, Dr. Freddye Hill, vice president for Campus Life, LynetteWalker, administrative assistant for Campus Life, Mahauganee Shaw,assistant dean and director for the Office of Student Engagement,along with Dillard’s nurse Adriene Gill, decided to form a LUL teamof Dillard faculty and students.
Other Dillard participants include juniors Kenneth Hughlon andCortez Watkins, senior Malana Joseph and DUAL 1 residentialmanager, Juanita Lang. It is up to each individual team to decidewhich category they want to join, and Dillard’s team decided toenter under both team competition categories – weight loss,defeating the battle of the bulge with appropriate diet andphysical activity, and accumulated activity, which includes keepingcount of each and every mile.
Although the kick-off has not quite reached a full week,Dillard’s members seem enthused at the chance to reduce theircombined weight of 1,390 lbs.
Senior mass communications major, Malana Joseph, is excitedabout joining Dillard’s team. She feels that it definitely haseveryone’s best interest in mind.
“Lighten Up Louisiana will definitely have a positive effect.There are a lot of people who are overweight and out of shape andthis is a chance to get people healthy and back in shape,” Josephsaid.
Shaw agrees with Joseph and adds that the plan is not onlybeneficial for all but that it is an easy plan as well. ThroughLUL, one is given the chance to make a diet regimen that fitshis/her schedule instead of resorting to something too drastic toosoon.
But Shaw pointed out that although everyone has their own setdiet regimen and work out plan, there are still certain thingseveryone in that team agreed to do.
All have agreed to give up sweets and to lower their portionsizes, and all have made the decision to make healthier eatingchoices. As a result, Shaw feels this will work because there aremultiple people involved who will help her stay motivated.
“I know that personally whenever I try to put myself on a workout plan it never really works,” Shaw said. “So I think this helpsout because we’re constantly watching each other, and we’re in theoffice like ‘I know you’re not about to eat that.'”
Nurse Gill backs Shaw by agreeing that a collaborated effort hasa better effect on the masses.
“People do better when they have help from others,” Gill said.”It’s always good to have a buddy when making life-long changes.”These spear headers are not solely attempting to make a changewithin themselves, but hopes the start will make Dillard a morehealthy campus altogether.
In fact, Gill was happy to announce that she and other facultymembers are in the process of creating a health fair. The healthfair, which is currently set for Sept. 29, should help Dillardreceive a base line of its students’ health. It will also allowstudents to get tested for blood sugar, high cholesterol, diabetes,and a host of other health concerns.
In addition to the proposed health fair, Dillard has soughtimprovement in its specialty line in the cafeteria and is makingplans to start morning and evening walking teams and aerobic andPilate exercise classes. This health conscientious movement wouldallow students with evening classes or after school jobs to findalternative hours to work out.
For now, the newly developed LUL team appears to be off to agreat start. The members all seem optimistic and motivated, and areconstantly watching each other like hawks. For more information onhow to be a part of LUL check out its website:www.lightenuplouisiana.org