Photo by Robert S. Donovan, Flickr
I was always a chubby kid and for me, to be chubby was to be ugly. I struggled with this physical and emotional burden over the first 19 years of my life before I realized I needed a change.
Almost all Americans are aware of the obesity epidemic that is overwhelming this country. However, many people do not realize the extensive and constant internal struggle that overweight and obese Americans go through as they try to lose weight.
In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the U.S. Department of Health, found that 17 percent of U.S. children and one third of U.S. adults were obese. They also found that those living in the Midwest and South were struggling with obesity more than the rest of the country. Their findings provide an outline of the obesity epidemic, defining the problem for everyone; however, they are unable to show us how we got here or how to overcome the situation. Continue reading
Author’s note: This story also appeared in the Feb. 16, 2011 issue of The Daily Iowan, you can check it out there as well.
Professor Daack-Hirsch interacts with mothers in the Philippines, Photo submitted
When Sandra Daack-Hirsch hopped on a west-bound plane in 1994, she didn’t know what to expect. When she landed in the Philippines, she found a group of islands filled with families who needed medical help and expertise.
And she gave it to them.
She discovered a family in which five of the seven children suffered from cleft lip/palate — a condition in which a gap forms in either the upper lip or the roof of the mouth. The University of Iowa assistant professor of nursing cared for three of them. She developed a bond with the mother, who helped her find others in the village who needed surgery for the condition. After returning home, Daack-Hirsch received several letters from the woman in her native language.
“The first time it was really exciting for me to be able to go someplace and not be someone’s mom, someone’s wife and really just be me and do what I do,” said Daack-Hirsch, looking at her husband.
She has been to the Philippines 14 times to help people suffering from cleft. She conducted research and volunteered with an Iowa-based team working with Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization that provides surgeries and help for thousands of individuals, mainly children, who are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. Surgery allows patients to eat and speak normally, but it’s difficult to find in less-developed countries. Continue reading
84-year-old Mary Villhauer does not like to be alone and at the City Park baseball diamonds, she’s never had to be.
Mary Villhauer and her husband Howard, who passed away in 2007, joined the Iowa City Boys Baseball organization in 1960. Since then, the league has grown quite a bit from 16 teams with two bags of equipment partly because of the encouragement and passion that the Villhauers put into it. Mary Villhauer still acts as the concession stand manager, secretary and treasurer.
Some may wonder how a woman could handle such responsibility so late in life, but one look at Mary Villhauer and it all makes perfect sense. She stands upright when she greets you at her door, with a firm handshake and welcoming voice. Her blue eyes maintain a hint of youth when she smiles, especially when she talks about the ballpark.
Born Mary Elizabeth Crowley on June 26, 1926, she was the only child of Elizabeth and Timothy Crowley. She spent too much time growing up on a farm outside of Hills, Iowa, where she was left with only her parents for company.
“All my life I had hoped to have a brother or a sister, especially a sister,” Mary Villhauer said. “And of course I never did and it was very lonely, especially when we were in the country.” Continue reading
Author’s note: This story also appeared on Feb. 21, 2011 on HerCampus.com’s University of Iowa Chapter. You can check that out here.
- Bellows and her host sister in Jordan
University of Iowa senior Brittney Bellows sees cultural diversity all over campus, no matter what the city’s demographics say.
The 21-year-old political science major spends a great part of her time trying to broaden her horizons and learn about different ethnic cultures. This could be a hard task considering Iowa City’s population is over 80 percent Caucasian. However, she manages to find people to learn from everywhere by simply talking to them.
“Iowa City itself has so many things to offer, there’s music, theatre, events at the IMU and food, so many different kinds of food,” said Bellows. “And there’s always a huge opportunity in just meeting people who aren’t American.”
Bellows makes time to attend as many events put on by the UI’s Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) as possible. She’s spent time exploring different kinds of cuisine, dance and other types of culture on campus, something that many students miss out on at first. Continue reading