The 20 Fattest and Fittest Universities

The 20 Fattest and Fittest Universities

Copyright 2005 Linda Slater Dowling

Is your university populace fit as a fiddle, sprinting between classes and the gym with the greatest of ease, or is it, as a whole, huffing and puffing its way back and forth from the computer lab to the local late-night hot dog joint? This is, of course, an exaggeration, but Mens Fitness magazine did partner with research organization the Princeton Review to come up with this much-needed, and never-before-produced, list.

Using surveys of nearly 10,000 students from more than 660 of top colleges and universities in the United States, the researchers graded each school on the following criteria: 

Student Bodies: Students gender, height, weight and weight gained or lost since beginning college.
Exercise: A measure of students participation in weekly vigorous and leisurely physical activity.
Bad Habits: A summary of how much fast food, alcohol and cigarettes students consumed on a weekly basis, along with how much time was spent participating in sedentary activities (other than studying), like watching TV or playing video games.
Other Lifestyle Choices: Supplement use, amount of sleep per night, and significant others influence on fitness goals.
Campus Culture of Fitness: Physical fitness requirements (or recommendations) and student opinions on the overall fitness of their school and whether the campus promotes physical activity.

The grades from each category were averaged to form the final grade. And the survey says:

Top 20 Fattest Universities of 2005

1. University of Louisiana, Lafayette
2. University of New Orleans
3. Mississippi State University
4. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
5. Portland State University
6. University of North Carolina, Greensboro
7. Eastern Michigan University
8. University of Kentucky
9. SUNY College, Brockport (N.Y.)
10. University of South Florida
11. University of Nebraska, Omaha
12. Seton Hall University (N.J.)
13. Louisiana State University
14. Southwest Missouri State University
15. University of Texas, Dallas
16. West Chester University of Pennsylvania
17. University of Cincinnati
18. Winona State University (Minn.)
19. University of Maine
20. Old Dominion University (Va.)

Top 20 Fittest Universities of 2005

1. Brigham Young University
2. University of California, Santa Barbara
3. Boston University
4. University of Vermont
5. Northwestern University (Ill.)
6. University of Colorado, Boulder
7. University of Notre Dame (Ind.)
8. University of California, Santa Cruz
9. University of Wisconsin, Madison
10. University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
11. Boston College
12. Texas Christian University
13. University of California, Davis
14. Georgia Institute of Technology
15. Salisbury University (Md.)
16. Georgetown University (D.C.)
17. College of William and Mary (Va.)
18. College of Charleston (S.C.)
19. East Carolina University (N.C.)
20. California State University, Long Beach

What to Do if You Attend One of the Fattest Universities

Healthy-Living Dorms: Thumbs up to Washington University in St. Louis for opening "healthy-living dorms." Students who choose to live in these campus abodes pledge not to use drugs or drink to excess, and exercise facilities are located nearby. The University of Maine at Farmington, Indiana University in Bloomington, George Mason University and many others across the nation have started similar programs.

If you attend one of the fittest universities in the nation (or one that you believe is a close runner-up), congratulations! Your efforts toward a healthy college career will likely be well supported. For those of you who dont--dont despair. These tips can help you to stay trim and fit, no matter what school you attend.

Always eat breakfast. This is key to refueling your body after sleep and is essential if you want to feel energized. But dont just grab a doughnut. Take a few minutes to go to the cafeteria and have real food--eggs, turkey bacon and fruit, for instance. If theres no time, arm yourself ahead of time with nuts, cheese, fruit and hard-boiled eggs that you can store right in your dorm room.

Resist the urge to party hardy. Alcohol can harm your body, especially if you drink it in excess. Plus, its high in calories and nothing else, which makes indulging in too much a surefire way to gain weight and risk your health in the short and long term (and if you get a hangover the next day, you can give up doing anything productive).

Stay active. Whether its walking across campus to class, working out in the fitness center, dancing to music with friends or playing sports, make sure that you get some type of physical activity during the day. Too many hours spent watching TV, playing video games or sitting in front of a computer will catch up with you.

Eat. Many college students skip meals, either while trying to lose weight or because they dont have time. You should eat something at every meal, and keep healthy snacks on hand to keep you nourished in between. Raw veggies, fruits, nuts and dried coconut all make great options, or you can be creative and try something more exotic, like seaweed (incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals).


Linda Slater Dowling, a certified natural health professional, is CEO & founder of the Nutritional Institute, home of the new STUDENT FORMULA Natural Health Products. For a FREE e-book on "Eating Right on a Budget" visit their Web site at . You may also want to sign up for their popular "Be Smart, Be Healthy, Be Natural" e-newsletter.