Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Report: UL Lafayette fattest college

That's right: the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the university I attended for seven years, is officially the fattest school in the nation (and, apparently, is posting anorexic enrollment).

Why I believe that: Lets face it--Lafayette is the hub of Cajun culture, one that revolves heavily around food. Indeed, everyone knows about the Cajun fascination with food; we eat fatty food and we eat a lot of it. Oftentimes with a Tabasco chaser.

As an undergraduate journalist, I interviewed Enola Prudhomme. Like her world-famous brother Paul (creator of the self-explanatory Turducken), she is herself a renowned chef. She's cooked for such diverse personalities as Ronald Reagan and the Rolling Stones, so she clearly knows her stuff. Enola's hook is low-fat Cajun cuisine, which she virtually invented. In fact, she told me that no one thought that healthy Cajun recipes were even possible before she nailed them. So you can imagine the level of caloric intake we're talking about here.

Additionally--as if this even needs to be said--south Louisianians drink beer. Lots of beer. Open alcohol consumption is everywhere during the festival season (January-December), as well as at football games, barbecues, certain UL functions and (probably) funerals. When The Vermilion ran an April Fool's issue a few years ago announcing that Bud Light vending machines were soon to be all over campus, people took it seriously. I drank beer as a child. On those fronts, I can understand why Men's Fitness ranked the Ragin' Cajuns so dismally.

Why I don't believe it: While the method of research for the article is thorough, its questions are somewhat sketchy:

Together, we surveyed nearly 10,000 students from more than 660 of the nation's top colleges and universities, asking them everything from the personal ("How many pounds have you gained or lost since you started going to school?" "How often do you work out?") to their thoughts on the big-picture issues ("How would you rate the fitness facilities on your campus?" "Does your school appear to care about how fit you are?").

I will use myself as an example of why net weight-gain, even if technically true, doesn't quite paint the right picture: when I started college in 1998, I weighed 133 (I was, then and now, 5-foot-7). I know this because my high-school football coach weighed me at 131 during my senior season, and I remember thinking how funny it was that I gained only two more pounds in the following year. With that figure in mind, let's review the stats:

August 1998--133 (coming off seven years of athletics)
December 1998--142 (after one semester as Morgan Spurlock)
August 1999--154 (after another Super-Size semester)
December 2002--161 (bachelor's graduation)

Thirty pounds in 4 1/2 years might seem like a lot, but 133 to 161 is hardly the stuff of Bluto; yet, according to Men's Fitness, this makes me fat. For the sake of messing with their heads some more, here's my graduate stats:

April 2003--150 (weighed for driver's license renewal)
Fall 2004--176 (not exercising, bad diet, crappy year)
May 2005--164 (master's graduation, after much running)
October 2005--157 (exercising, better diet, crappy year)

In summation, in seven years at UL Lafayette, I gained a net total of 31 pounds. And I'm still pretty fit-slash-skinny, which should prove that at least some distinctions must be made when talking about weight gain. And for what it's worth, UL Lafayette has a pretty good fitness facility in Bourgeois Hall, where at any time of day or night you can see sexy (and not-so-sexy) people getting their fitness on. No matter how you slice it, Lafayette has an above-average spate of sexy guys and girls, as well as a bevy of those who are not model-perfect but beautiful nonetheless.

Here's the final tale of the tape:

REPORT CARD: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Student Bodies C
Exercise D-
Bad Habits D- (That high?)
Other Lifestyle Choices D+ (ha ha)
Culture of Fitness D-
Final D-
Enrollment 14,564

Ultimately, I'll accept the fact that UL has a long way to go in terms of promoting fitness (as does its home city in general). That said, however, such a survey cannot be taken on its face with the methods employed here. But if Men's Fitness actually meant to say that we are the phattest campus in America, then that I'll accept unconditionally.


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Phillip said...

the beer-drinking and weight-gain is a cause-and-effect thing. we drink more so the fatties look better, we get fat, they drink more so we look good to them, on and on.

Ian McGibboney said...

The ironic thing is, I almost never drank in college, and I don't like most Cajun food. But I'm not the only one like that, keeping the numbers down. There's at least three of us.

The Manning Report said...

3 years of college for me and i still weigh the same.
i would like to know how they determined us to be the fattest

Alisha said...

You know, they must have walked around and polled only the fattest people on campus because for the five years I was at UL I don't remember ever coming across a great number of people who I would consider fat. I was always impressed because UL was full of beatiful people! Screw that article...sounds like it's not so founded in fact. People are always trying to make Louisiana people look bad!

Nick said...

I do think if you did a study on the best looking women in college, ULL would also be at least in the top 10.

I started UL weighing 145 lbs. and left at 135, but I also worked out in weight rooms less than high school and went from running 40 miles/week in HS to 80-100 in college.

Phillip, aka Phizz: You can drink a girl pretty, but you can't drink her skinny. Therefore, an overly heavy girl is no excuse for drinking alot.

Ian McGibboney said...


I happen to know that all four of you are sexy. At least to the respective opposite genders! I'm not gay or anything. Or fat. And yeah, it's definitely true that UL is a sexy-as-hell campus. I've brought people here from all over the place and they can't believe it.

Nick said...

Wow...that was something to wake up to this morning, a guy calling me sexy

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick, I did that just for you.