Mendel Discusses Misconceptions of Fit and Fat

November 29, 2011

Dr. Ronald Mendel, associate professor of human performance and sport business and director of the University of Mount Union’s Exercise Science Program, presented Fit or Fat? on Tuesday, November 22 at the LINC Luncheon. The luncheon was held in the Hoover-Price Campus Center on the University’s campus. 
Mendel’s presentation compared and contrasted the morbidity and mortality of people who are normal weight and sedentary to those who are overweight and physically fit. Society and media outlets put an enormous amount of emphasis on the obesity crisis that our country is currently experiencing, much to the detriment of being physically fit.
During the LINC Luncheon, Mendel questioned the audience on whether or not we determine if someone is “fit” by a person’s size alone.  As he pointed out, the size of a person does not indicate whether or not he or she is physically fit.
“Just because we can see what the world has tagged as obesity, we think it is easy to tag as a problem,” said Mendel. “The problem actually is the lack of exercise.”
According to Mendel, exercise drives fit, and without it, we cannot change the obesity issue in the United States.
“Until we move more and make it a priority, the obesity issue will never change,” said Mendel.  “There are many excuses one can conjure up on why he or she can’t exercise or be fit, but the primary one is the lack of making exercise a personal responsibility and priority.”
Mendel concluded his lecture by explaining that exercise is the process of getting better at an overall performance, making a goal, practicing to achieve the goal and further enhancing the goal. Exercise is not simple movement. To be human is to move; to exercise is to exert energy.
A member of the Mount Union faculty since 2004, Mendel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Arts degree in education, both from Walsh University. He also earned a doctorate degree in exercise physiology from Kent State University. On campus, Mendel serves as advisor of the Exercise Science Club on the Human Subjects and Student Celebration Honoring Our Latest Academic Research (SCHOLAR) Day committees.
Mendel was named Mount Union’s Great Teacher in 2008. He also is a recipient of the Excellence in Education Award sponsored by Ohio Magazine, which recognizes professors’ dedication to teaching.
Prior to joining the faculty at Mount Union, Mendel served as the laboratory director of the Ohio Institute of Health & Human Performance, co-editor in chief of the International Society of Sports Nutrition Newsletter, researcher and dietary supplement industry consultant for ESN, Consulting Inc. and science advisor of Twin Laboratories, Inc. He also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in human physiology, scientific inquiry, research methods, problem solving, natural science, clinical chemistry and exercise physiology at Walsh University, and he served as a graduate teaching assistant at Kent State University, teaching courses in sports physiology, energy metabolism, biomechanics, lifetime fitness, exercise and weight control and energy metabolism.
The community luncheon series known as LINC (lunch, information, networking and conversation) was conceived to take advantage of the local expertise from Mount Union’s faculty and staff that exists in Alliance, in light of the University’s exceptional academic reputation. This is an opportunity to gain practical knowledge on current topics from local experts and a chance to interact with members of the University and greater Alliance community.
The sessions are open to the public and will run from noon until 1 p.m. during the third Tuesday of the months of September, October, November, January, February and March. The cost of each lunch is $10, but a discounted season ticket is available for $50. Payment will be accepted at the door, but space is limited.
Upcoming sessions will be held on January 24, February 28 and March 27.
For more information or to make a reservation, contact Chris Pontius at Mount Union at (330) 823-3296.
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