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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA should provide better food in Student Union

    American obesity is a major problem that could be relieved at college, but it’s only getting worse.

    The unhealthy diet and lifestyle of the average American has been well publicized. Obesity rates have shot up. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more. In 2009, nine states did. In 2010, the number with an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or higher increased to 12 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    There are 72 million Americans who are overweight or obese. Studies by the Get America Fit Foundation and the CDC have shown that the majority of overweight Americans are in poverty or low-income situations. Bad food is simply cheaper to buy.

    GAF studies show that some of the poorest counties in the U.S. are also some of the unhealthiest. Low-income families can’t regularly afford to cook organic meals at home. Cheap meals like McDonald’s dollar menu or Jack in the Box’s 99-cent tacos are the best they can afford.

    Students encounter this problem time and time again. College students hang onto every last penny they have, and eating healthful foods becomes difficult or impossible.

    “You are what you eat,” should be flipped so it reads, “You eat what you are.” Meaning if you’re poor, you eat poorly. But students aren’t at fault. The administration hasn’t provided them with healthier eating options that work with their income.

    Take a look around campus; there’s a plethora of unhealthy options. On campus, healthy restaurants are limited and expensive. Healthier choices such as Core, a full salad bar, are barely visible and can cost almost $10 for a salad and a drink. Students in the Student Union Memorial Center are most likely to choose Burger King or Panda Express where a meal can cost less than $5. If you try to pass through the student union around noon, it’s almost impossible to get past the enormous Chick-Fil-A line.

    Off campus, the options aren’t any healthier. The half-mile stretch on Speedway Boulevard in between Park Avenue and Campbell Avenue hosts a Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, 7-Eleven, Domino’s Pizza and a Circle K. With the healthiest options being Subway or Boston Market, there’s not one cheap, healthy market or restaurant.

    It’s great that the Student Recreation Center is filled to capacity of students working on their spring break bodies, but what they put in their body could be outweighing all the hard work. The school should provide more healthy markets and affordable restaurants. The university controls the prices and menu options at many of the campus restaurants and officials need to make a bigger push to promote better diets and eating habits.

    College is where knowledge, principles and habits are formed. If students are not given healthier options that fit their strapped budgets, they will only continue to have unhealthy diets, which will worsen America’s second-most preventable cause of death: obesity. Universities should be proactive with modern day issues, and obesity is one of the most dangerous and prevalent ones.

    If the UA can promote change in its students’ lifestyle choices, then it will also help improve Tucson and the U.S.

    — Luke Davis is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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