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Spring Clean Your Plate, But Choose Wisely

Spring Clean Your Plate, But Choose Wisely

Remember fearing the dreaded weight gain dubbed the “Freshman 15?” Well, with the heightened awareness surrounding childhood obesity and obesity in general, contributing editor Lydia Lum takes a look at how college health and dining officials are ensuring that students have a variety of healthy food options to choose from.

Apparently, that time has come. Obesity among young people is a widening problem. It is one of the leading causes of death and disease, and creates a staggering financial burden on our health system. Not to mention the ways poor nutrition limits young people who otherwise might be enjoying sports and an active, energetic lifestyle.

The root of the problem is twofold: There is a lack of education about what constitutes good nutrition, and the fast food and junk food industries are engaged in a multibillion-dollar campaign for our stomachs and dollars. The food industry spends more than $33 billion a year on advertising. It’s hard for fruits and vegetables to compete with that.

But in “Accommodating Picky Palates,” Lydia reports that college students today do have many choices and are probably eating better than their parents ever did.

Dave Annis, executive director of food services at the University of Oklahoma, knows he is competing with fast food outlets near campus. He strives to make food tasty and nutritious: “Each kid wants something different,” he says. “Here, we try to make it like living at home.”

Be sure to check out Lydia’s other feature story, “An Unusual Suspect.” Asian Americans haven’t been included in many books written about civil rights. Too bad, because activist Grace Lee Boggs has some amazing tales to share. In the 1960s, Boggs crossed racial lines to work alongside Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Dee and others. With a doctorate in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College, she organized marches for tenants’ rights, wrote prolifically and turned her home into an unofficial headquarters for Detroit’s Black activists.

“Grace mentored a whole generation of radicals in Detroit,” says Dr. Peniel Joseph, an assistant professor of Africana studies at the State University of New York-Stony Brook. As an Asian woman married to a Black man, she practiced her message of diversity and acceptance.  

In “One-Stop Shop,” senior writer Ronald Roach reports on the Science Diversity Center, a new Web-based portal that makes it a breeze for STEM faculty at minority-serving institutions to browse all the federal research grants available for their schools. And our Spectrum editor, Christina Asquith, highlights an interesting new book entitled Ghettonation by former Fortune magazine writer Cora Daniels. In it, Daniels takes Hollywood to task for marketing “low-brow,” “shameless” behavior as cool to young people.  It’s a timely issue. Let me know what you think.

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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