Could the University of Mississippi be rated among the most obese college campuses?

John Bove-Smith
Oxford Stories

UM student Connor Crain, 21, believes many people experience weight gain in college.

“Everyone gets the freshmen 15,” said the UM senior from Jackson. “It is simply balance. You must learn to balance your health with academics.”

It is no shock that America wins the award for most obese nation in the world, but that begs the question. Is Ole Miss the fattest college in America?

More than 60 percent of the U.S. population older than 15 is overweight. This has lead to a spike in obesity-related medical treatment of nearly $316 billion, according to a study done by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Considering the sugary colas, fried food and desserts consumed daily, it is no wonder Mississippi is one of the most obese states in the U.S.

UM has two enrollment hotbeds. Memphis and Jackson both rank first and second on OECD fattest cities in America list for 2017.

Furthermore, all cities in the Top 20 are deep South cities from states like Louisiana, South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia – all places where UM students come from. suggests that UM acquires the majority of its non-residential students from states like Tennessee, Texas and Georgia; all U.S. states with cities that appeared on OECD’s 2017 fattest cities in America list.

Alan Donatelli, an Ole Miss junior and exercise science major from New York City, said “People down here just seem fatter.” reports that New York was ranked as the 44th most obese state, and Mississippi ranked second.

Benjamin Sumner, 22, an Ole Miss senior from Dallas, doesn’t think UM students go to the gym as much as students at other colleges.

“There’s not a big gym culture here,” he said. “At SMU, a school where a handful of my friends go to, I always hear them talk about the gym, and protein, etc. And that just doesn’t happen here.”

William Brady Culbertson, 19, a UM freshmen, said it can be hard not to gain weight with so many food options. “There is a lot of fast food,” he said. “It is nasty, and there are not many choices. Everything is gross and unhealthy. Almost everything’s fried. It is just overall disgusting.”

Some students feel there are a lack of healthy eating options in Oxford.

Crain believes “health is a class in itself.”

“You must learn to better yourself, when to eat, and what to eat, like how you study for a test, and when you study for a test,” he said.

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