- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 9, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

At 19, Jessica Pollard has learned the hard way how important regular exercise is.

In her first semester at the University of Missouri-Columbia last year, she gained 15 pounds from all-you-can-eat dorm dining and by not keeping up the exercise she got as a high school athlete growing up on a farm.

A new course to be offered this fall at the university will emphasize the lifelong cost of neglecting exercise.

The course — apparently one of the first in the country — will explore how lack of exercise contributes to obesity and unhealthy aging, marked by heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, muscle wasting, frailty and dementia.

“If we don’t capture their interest now, it’s going to be too late for them,” said Marybeth Brown, a physical therapy professor who will help teach the course.

“There are students here who are appallingly overweight, and I’m betting they’re not going to be the ones attending the class,” she said. “That saddens me because they don’t understand why they’re in the pickle they’re in.”

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