LACERDA: A toast to health here at ‘Nova

John LaCerda

I rush from my 2:30 p.m. class across campus and quickly head to the locker room at the Davis Center. Furiously changing my clothes, I rummage around in search of my iPod, the new Nano. As I exit the bathroom, I expect to see a relatively empty gym; instead I discover a wave of students occupying nearly all of the machines. Realizing that half of the dumbbells are off the rack, I turn away and pathetically head towards the bike machine.

It seems that the new year has brought about numerous resolutions within the Villanova community, specifically in regards to physical well-being. While the sight of a packed fitness center can cause anxiety to those seeking spatial comfort, the fact that more students are seeking personal training and exercise during the current semester reveals a positive aspect about the student body. Even the smaller facilities over at Farley on West Campus and Stanford on South Campus contain an impressive amount of students working out in both the weight areas and the cardio sections.

According to a Health E-Stat published in December 2008 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics Web site, 32.2 percent of adults ages 20-74 were overweight in the ’05-’06 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. After growing for many years and hitting 32.9 percent in the ’03-’04 survey, the numbers for those who are obese did not change significantly in ’05-’06. Numbers for extreme obesity grew from 0.9 percent in the ’60-’62 survey to 6.2 percent in ’05-’06.

What do all of these numbers mean? Essentially, the rate of obesity is relatively stable right now, but this is no indication that the country is necessarily thinner or that the obesity epidemic is slowing. The opening of the Davis Center in the fall of 2007, however, has ultimately proved to be extremely beneficial, not only for the athletic department, but for all students, staff and faculty as well. Hopefully, the mere presence of the state-of-the-art facility will draw in greater numbers of prospective students in the future.

One cannot simply judge the general health of the student body by counting the number of smokers outside of the Quad or by reading the nutritional labels on the “no trans fat” items in the various markets and dining halls around campus. The true road to bodily purification rests on a foundation of constant exercise that stresses full- body workout routines in order to combat weekend binges at every restaurant from Campus Corner to Flip and Baileys. The effectiveness of a facility like the Davis Center depends on environmental cleanliness and availability of equipment. Villanova does a good job of that.

Even though I loathe the line to the treadmill and I hate when the bench presses are taken, I admire the healthy spirit of our student body and praise those who have altered their habits for 2009. And to those who have not, there still remains plenty of time. All three gyms should give us inspiration to battle a national epidemic and maintain a community that stresses not indulgence and gluttony, but physical stability and mental liberation. Thus, I give a toast to health and to those students who occupy my desired machines during all of my visits to the fitness center.


John LaCerda is a junior English major from Medfield, Mass. He can be reached at [email protected].