Valentine’s Day on a stick

If you’re reading this and are Minnesotan, there’s a 66

percent chance that you’re fat. On this note, happy Valentine’s Day.

Blame the heart attacks-on-a-stick served at the State Fair or the heart attacks-on-a-bun served at McDonald’s. Blame your sedentary job or your genetics. Blame Americans’ suicidal and irrational obsession with driving cars. Blame Richard Simmons for not being perky enough. Blame anything,

but the fact is: You’re still part of the problem. The obesity blame game could be played ad nauseum and in the end it still comes down to you.

This is a serious issue. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The health-care costs because of obesity are rising yearly. Last year, Minnesotans paid $1.3 billion in obesity-related health-care costs. Minnesota has an obesity rate higher than the national average and is rising every year. The most recent statistics found that obesity in Minnesota rose 3 percent from 2001-02. On campus, according to a Boynton Health Service survey, 37 percent of females and 40 percent of males are overweight. Statistics aside, the real issue here is life and death.

Things can change and you can start today. It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and you and your overweight date can start becoming healthier. Take in some ice skating rather than a movie. Take a winter walk instead of that SUV safari through suburbia. This is Minnesota – take your date ice fishing. The standard advice still holds true. Cut down on portions and get active.

So when you’re out this evening with your overweight date in the land of 10,000 folds, enjoy it while you can because chances are the longer you stay overweight the fewer Valentine’s Days you’ll see. Valentine’s Day isn’t so romantic when it’s spent six feet underground in an extra large coffin.