Michelle Rimer, Director of the Solmaz Institute for Obesity at Lenoir Rhyne University, spoke to the club about the obesity epidemic plaguing the nation and our state. Statistics show that North Carolina ranks 5th worst in childhood (ages 10-17) obesity with an alarming 19.3% obesity rate among that age group.
In 2003 the Journal of the American Medical Association wrote, “Obese children are almost six times more likely than children with healthy weights to have an impaired quality of life – equal to that of children undergoing treatment for cancer”. The New England Journal of Medicine states, “For the first time in more than 100 years, our children’s life expectancy is declining due to the increase in overweight children.” Children born today have a shorter life expectancy than did their parents.
Obesity rates nationally have been increasing at an alarming rate as more and more states show yearly increases in obesity rates among adults, who are more likely to raise overweight children. This document (PDF link) illustrates the obesity trends among adults from 1985-2010.
Lenoir Rhyne University established the Solmaz Institute in 2009 with a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. Gungor Solmaz. The Institute works to train future professionals in obesity prevention and treatment while serving the needs of the community.
The Solmaz Institute involves various programs already established at Lenoir-Rhyne, including counseling, physical education, nursing and athletic training. It includes a clinic to help children and their families. Services are provided to families regardless of their ability to pay. The clinic opened in fall 2011.
The Solmaz Institute also provides an internship required for students wishing to become licensed as registered dietitians. Intern, Kelsy Garmon from Pennsylvania spoke to the club about the internship process from a student’s perspective. All students must have received a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited university or college and completed course work approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education of the American Dietetic Association. At this time, Lenoir-Rhyne does not offer such a degree program. More information about the steps involved in becoming a registered dietitian is available from the American Dietetics Association at www.eatright.org.