Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
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Worksite Wellness

Did You Know?: Overweight and Obesity

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) estimates that 69% of Americans, including 35% of college students, are overweight or obese. At this rate, over half of Americans will be obese (not just overweight) by 2030! Why is this occurring? The easy answer is we eat too much and exercise too little. Seems simple enough, right? However, obesity and overweight is a complex issue. It is impossible to explain the many factors involved in this short of a column. Thus, I urge you to research and study the issue, or talk to a health care or allied health care professional, if you or a loved one is overweight or obese. However, education must always start somewhere. In short, genetic factors that affect metabolism and appetite, along with unhealthy expression of preexisting genes (cultural effect) determines about 25-55% of transmissible variations in body fat. The remaining percentage is, as of now, thought to be non-transmissible.What does this mean? If the environment is sedentary, stressful and has easy access to high calorie, large portion and inexpensive foods, the genetically susceptible, obesity-prone individual will gain weight, and lots of it. What can be done? As of now, the best things we can do are education and prevention, identify obesity-prone people early, while also promoting healthy total caloric intake and increased physical activity. We cannot become discouraged if our efforts do not work.

Research suggests that 'metabolic imprinting' exists that actually alters neural circuits in some people who are obese and this can be genetically passed to children. There is also something called 'futile metabolism' that results in excess calories being burned as heat energy without being involved in any other energy-consuming processes in the body. The responsible gene, USP2, can vary from person to person and leads support to the common statement, "Everything I eat turns to fat, while nothing (s)he eats turns to fat." In addition, social causes, such as bad family relations, stressful job and declining relations with significant others, can exasperate this condition. It is too easy to give up on losing weight. Unfortunately, it is not easy, in fact it is very difficult, for some people. But, understanding the process can be beneficial. We must let people know that there are likely many reasons why they are overweight, that we do not think it is because they are 'weak' and they should not think this either. This could be the factor that helps them make serious changes in their life. Did you also know that between ages 20-40, we gain about 2 pounds a year, with females gaining the most? This is called 'creeping obesity', as we do not see it coming until we are suddenly 40 pounds overweight. Our metabolism naturally decreases with age, partly because our muscle mass decreases with age. Resistance training can combat the decline in muscle mass, thus also helping with the decrease in metabolism, as muscle is quite active, even when you are not. Studies also report that that completing the same amount of weekly exercise that one did 20-30 years ago, may result in a significant weight gain.

To counter weight gain with age, starting at age 30, you should gradually increase your weekly exercise (the amount of fast walking, jogging or running 1.4 miles) for each year of age. Thus, if you are 40, and used to run 5 miles per week at age 30 (and this was enough to maintain your weight), you should now be exercising the equivalent of 14 miles per week. This may seem discouraging, but the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight hopefully outweigh the 'difficulty' of completing adequate exercise. Don't worry about starting small. Every great feat started with one small step. When will you take that step? Turn off the "Biggest Loser" and become the biggest loser in your own life or help your loved one become the biggest loser in their life. Good luck and remember, there are many services at LSSU to help, including LSSU Worksite Wellness! Counseling can be of great help to many, as well. It is a complex issue that deserves a full-fledged combat plan. Use us to lose it!

How do I Take Advantage of Worksite Wellness?

  • Watch for emails announcing contests, health assessments, educational seminars and exercise classes
  • Email Jody Susi ( to schedule individual assessments or education

Employers + Employees + Worksite Wellness

Remember... Healthy Employees Have...

  • Fewer Injuries
  • Lower Health Care Costs
  • Increased Morale
  • More Productivity
  • More Company Loyalty
  • Less Absenteeism


  • $20.00 per year: LSSU Employees
  • $30.00 per year: Immediate Family Member of LSSU Employee

Commit To Be Fit!

Healthy Employee Spotlight
Assistant Volleyball Coach
Nikki Stratelak

How often do you exercise?
5-6 days/week

What motivates you to be healthy?
I have an extremely low immune system. I have to eat healthy and exercise to not get sick.

Describe your "Perfect Meal":
Mediterranean food!! Vegetarian heaven! Hummus, grape leaves, tabouli, falafel, and baba ganoush.

Does your job keep you active? If so, how?
Absolutely! Being the assistant volleyball coach I am always active and I have to play a lot during practice because we currently only have 8 players.

Any short or long term health goals?
My short term goal would be to increase my immune system because it's been bad lately. My long term goal is to create strong healthy living habits for my future.

WorkSite Wellness Opportunities

  • Introduction to the SAC
  • Exercise Classes
  • Physical Activity Education
  • Individualized Exercise Prescription
  • Exercise Testing (Max /Submax VO2)
  • Stress Management Screening
  • Muscular Strength and Endurance
  • Heart Disease Education
  • Cholesterol Testing
  • Spirometry
  • Resting Blood Pressure, Heart Rate and ECG
  • Height, Weight and BMI
  • Body Composition
  • Nutritional Analysis
  • Health and Fitness Discussion Groups
  • Weight Loss Programs
  • Health Contests
  • Diabetes Education
  • Workplace Ergonomics
  • Individualized Health Education

Mission Statement

To encourage employees' personal and professional productivity, and physical and mental well-being, the mission of the LSSU Worksite Wellness program shall be to foster a worksite culture that supports anyone's desire to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Upcoming Events:


  • Wednesdays: 5:20 p.m., Norris Dance Studio (2nd floor Norris)

Health Testing!

Get your blood glucose, total cholesterol, resting blood pressure, and BMI checked!

  • April 18th, 11:30 am-1pm, Norris Center 213A

Current Health Research

Click the links below to read the news articles related to the research studies.

  • Does spending too time in front of a computer or TV screen results in low bone mineral density in boys? Find out here
  • Are the current nutritional guidelines correct? New evidence raises questions about the link between fatty acids and heart disease. Get the full story here
  • Large waist linked to poor health, even among those in healthy body mass index ranges. Follow this link to find out why
  • Drinking alcohol several times a week increases risk of stroke mortality. Read more here
  • Mental health on the go: Reducing anxiety with smartphone app. Not convinced? Check it out for yourself

Easter Carrot Cakesters!

Carrot Cakesters
These little cakesters are perfect snacks that satisfy our sweet tooth, the healthy way!

  • 3/4 cup oat
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. each: ground nutmeg, ground ginger
  • 8-12 packets of Splenda
  • 1 cup egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 TB coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nonfat, unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 TB vanilla extract
How to Prepare
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a12 muffin tin (or (2) 6 muffin tins) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix oat flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and sweetener together until well blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites, carrots, coconut oil, apple sauce, almond milk and vanilla until well blended.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well until just blended (don't over mix).
  6. Spoon the mix evenly into each of the 12 muffin cups.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until knife inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!
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