Posts Tagged ‘aging’

Five years ago when I was in my freshman year of college, I was terrified at the thought of gaining the “freshman 15.” Weight-gain in college seemed inevitable: I was surrounded with greasy dining hall food, well-stocked vending machines and copious amounts of alcohol at every turn of the head.

Miraculously, my weight didn’t skyrocket during my freshman year. Naively, I assumed that it was due to my self-control (refusing dining hall burgers and fries on a daily basis is no small feat). But a recent study provides a counter-argument for my self-praise. According to ScienceDaily.com, the freshman 15 is really more like the freshman 5.

What’s more, freshman weight-gain may not be college-related, but more a result of becoming a young adult. A recent article by NPR highlights the reasons why many people put on the pounds as they get older. Aging causes muscles to break down, which in turn causes calories to be burned at a slower rate. (Just one more thing to look forward to, right?)

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On October 9, California passed legislation to prohibit tanning for individuals below the age of 18. The old law set the age at 14, and allowed teenagers between 15 and 17 to fake bake with their parent’s permission. This law is setting a new stage in tanning legislation considering the highest age limit in any state was 16.

The law has been issued because of the damage UV exposure has on skin. There is a strong correlation between the tanning bed fad and the rise of melanoma in young women. Considering the magnitude of this health hazard it is comforting to know that the state of California is taking a strong stance.

Despite the reasoning for the decision, the Indoor Tanning Association is simply seeing the effect it will have on their businesses since the under-18 crowd represents about five to 10 percent of their customers. Unfortunately, I doubt those over 18 will get the message.

What I don’t understand about tanning is the reasoning behind it. It is an aesthetic indulgence, yet its effects are entirely detrimental. At a time when people are more than ever obsessed with youth, with 20-year-olds using cell rejuvenating serums and Botox parties are no longer an exaggeration, I am confused about the success of this business.

Tanning causes aging and cancer, yet people can’t seem to get enough. If youth is so important, why not completely abandon tanning and just use all the amazing sunless tanning options? Then again, I guess tanning has never been an issue for me, but I’m genuinely asking, what is the appeal of the harmful tan?

-Nadjma Sako