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Obese woman

Discrimination against the obese contributes to health problems

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The discrimination that obese people feel, whether it is poor service at a restaurant or being treated differently in the workplace, may have a direct impact on their physical health, according to new research from Purdue University.

Obese woman

The researchers found that around a third of the severely obese people in the United States report facing some form of discriminatory experience.

“Obesity is a physiological issue, but when people have negative interactions in their social world – including a sense of being discriminated against – it can make matters worse and contribute to a person’s declining physical health,” said Markus H. Schafer, the doctoral student in sociology and gerontology who led the study. “We found that around a third of the severely obese people in the United States report facing some form of discriminatory experience, and the experience of weight discrimination plays into people’s own perspective about their weight. It seems that many people are internalizing the prejudice and stigma they feel, and it contributes to stress, which ultimately affects their health.”

Overweight and obesity are measured by the body mass index scale, which accounts for height, weight and gender. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 34 percent of U.S. adults are overweight and another 34 percent are obese. Being overweight is a predisposition for obesity, which puts people at risk for cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other complications and quality of life issues.

The Purdue team’s findings are published in this month’s Social Psychology Quarterly journal. Schafer, along with Kenneth F. Ferraro, a distinguished professor of sociology, compared body mass indexes to people’s health and perceptions of weight discrimination. More than 1,500 people, ages 25-74, were surveyed in 1995 and 2005 about issues related to aging and health equality as part of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States.

Purdue graduate student Markus Schafer, at left, and Ken Ferraro, a professor of sociology, found that the discrimination obese people feel, whether it is poor service at a restaurant or being treated differently in the workplace, may have a direct impact on their physical health. Their research is published in Social Psychology Quarterly. (Purdue University file photo)

“As expected, those who were obese fared worse in overall health when they were followed up with 10 years later,” Schafer said. “But we found there was a difference among those who felt they were discriminated against and those who didn’t.”

About 11 percent of those who were moderately obese and 33 percent of those who were severely obese reported weight discrimination, and these were the individuals who had the sharpest decline over time in their functional abilities, such as the capacity to climb stairs or carry everyday items. Functional ability is a key measure for health status, Schafer said.

“We’ve seen considerable progress to address racial and gender discrimination in the United States, but the iceberg of weight discrimination still receives relatively little attention,” said Ferraro, who studies obesity and aging. “This is an interesting paradox because as the rates of obesity rise in this country, one might expect that anti-fat prejudice would decline. Public health campaigns for weight control are needed, but the stigma that many obese persons experience also exacts a toll on health.”

Schafer and Ferraro are affiliated with the Department of Sociology and the Center on Aging and the Life Course. Schafer, who will be an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto this fall, is currently studying social relationships and health among retirement community residents. Ferraro, who is director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course, is continuing to work on obesity issues related to aging.

Posted in Science + Technology0 Comments

Indiana Energy Star Credit has reached its cap

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Revenue announced today that as of March 1, 2011, claims toward the Energy Star Heating & Cooling Equipment Credit had reached Indiana’s $1 million limit, which the legislature assigned to cover claims toward this credit. Any claims received after the cap was reached will be denied.

A denial of the claim will result in a manual adjustment to the taxpayer’s return. This could cause a slight delay in processing those returns. Those taxpayers’ whose claims have been denied will be notified in writing from the state revenue agency.

Tax year 2010 was the last year to claim the Energy Star Heating & Cooling Equipment Credit.

Posted in Indiana Politics1 Comment

Best Places to Work in Indiana 2011

Purdue Federal named to Best Places to Work in Indiana list

Best Places to Work in Indiana 2011WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -– Purdue Federal Credit Union was recently named as one of the 2011 Best Places to Work in Indiana. The awards program was created in 2006 and is a project of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, BizVoice, Inside INdiana Business, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Indiana, benefiting the state’s economy, its workforce and businesses. The 2011 Best Places to Work in Indiana list is made up of 34 companies in the small/medium-sized list (15-249 employees in the United States) and 36 companies in the large-sized list (250+ employees in the United States).

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have at least 15 employees working in Indiana;
  • Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity;
  • Be a publicly or privately held business;
  • Have a facility in the state of Indiana; and
  • Must be in business a minimum of 1 year.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the Best Places to Work in Indiana. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in Indiana and also analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.

Purdue Federal will be recognized and honored at the 2011 Best Places to Work in Indiana Awards Dinner coordinated by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, May 5. The final rankings will be announced at the event. In addition, all ranked companies will be featured in the May-June issue of the award-winning BizVoice® magazine.

For more information on the Best Places to Work in Indiana program, visit or contact Jackie Miller at 877.455.2159. For more information on Purdue Federal, visit or call 800.627.3328.

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Gifted Student Summer Camps at Purdue

Purdue offers summer camps for gifted K-12 students

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. –- Registration is open for Purdue University’s Gifted Education Resource Institute 2011 summer residential camps.

Gifted Student Summer Camps at PurdueThis is the 34th year GERI has offered camps for gifted, creative and talented youth in grades 5-12. Students come from across the country and around the world to participate in classes designed to stimulate their imaginations and expand their abilities.

The camps offer access to Purdue’s libraries and state-of-the-art science and computer labs. GERI’s teachers share their knowledge and passion for learning in a hands-on environment.

While on campus, students live in residence halls and enjoy all that Purdue has to offer. On-site counselors plan social activities daily, and they are always available to offer guidance and support.

Dates for summer residential camps are:

  • July 3-9: Comet I (for students completing grades 5-6).
  • July 10-16: Comet II (for students completing grades 5-6).
  • July 3-16: Star (for students completing grades 7-8).
  • July 3-16: Pulsar (for students completing grades 9-12).

GERI also offers Super Summer, a weeklong day camp for children age 4 through fourth grade. This year’s program will be held at Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette.

Students attend a full-day program involving challenging, hands-on activities related to a central theme. Components from all disciplines will be included at each level, so every child will experience engineering, math, science, social studies, art and language arts while working on open-ended activities that require critical and creative thinking. This interdisciplinary approach focused on broad themes allows students to make connections between content areas.

Dates for Super Summer Camps are as follows:

  • June 13-17: Discovery Week
  • June 20-24: Eco-Week.

For more information on Summer Residential and Super Summer camps, go to and click on Youth Programs. For questions about either camp, contact Stacey Folyer at or 765-494-7243.

Posted in Purdue News0 Comments

Tippecanoe County to test sirens, offer training for severe weather preparedness

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — As spring approaches, Tippecanoe County Emergency Management Agency will test sirens and Purdue officials urge the campus community to review the university’s severe weather procedures and know the shelter-in-place locations.

In conjunction with National Severe Weather Awareness Week, TEMA will sound the emergency warning sirens and test its communication systems between 10:00a and 11:00a and again between 1:00p and 8:00p on March 16. The tests’ objectives are to ensure the sirens are operational, allow the community to hear what the sirens sound like, and emphasize the need to prepare responses during both daytime and evening hours.

Sirens also are scheduled for testing at 11:00a on the first Saturday of each month. If there is a threat of actual severe weather during any scheduled test day, the tests will be postponed.

“It is also important to note that the ‘all-hazards’ sirens can be activated on the West Lafayette campus for an incident other than a tornado warning,” said Ron Wright, director of university emergency preparedness. “The all-hazards sirens might also be activated in response to a hazardous materials situation, a civil disturbance such as an active shooter on campus, or when police or fire department officials determine that the Purdue community should shelter in place.

“The key phrase here is ‘shelter in place.’ I also want to note that the sirens are not designed to be heard inside every building, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t notice them.”

Each Purdue building also has a building emergency plan that provides specific evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures, and the awareness week provides an opportunity to review those plans, Wright said. The plan is normally developed and maintained by the building deputy or the Building Safety Committee.

On March 23, April 6 or April 13, Purdue will offer faculty, staff and students tornado preparedness training from 10:00a-11:00a in the Terry Memorial Conference Room at the Purdue Police Department. The training, offered through the university’s Emergency Preparedness and Planning Office, will be facilitated by Purdue fire safety specialist Tom Cooper. The training is designed to provide tornado awareness information and recommended response actions during and after an incident. Those interested in attending one of the sessions should contact Mary Stair at 765-494-1424.

Cooper also is available to speak in campus offices or departments. For more information, contact him at 765-494-1432,

Information about preparing for severe weather is available from the Purdue home page weather link or at page provides links to awareness pointers and information about recommended emergency kits.

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Artists rendering of new SIA Health and Wellness Center.

SIA breaks ground on new Health & Wellness Center

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — SIA Associates and Officers gathered today for the ground breaking of the new SIA Health & Wellness Center. Managed by WeCare, TLC, the center will provide SIA associates, retirees and dependents with primary and urgent care services, including laboratory services, medication distribution and Total Lifestyle Counseling (TLC).

Artists rendering of new SIA Health and Wellness Center.

Artists render of new SIA Health and Wellness Center.

The center will be located next to SIA’s Recreation Center and Child Development Center. Construction on the
new SIA Health & Wellness Center will begin soon and its opening is slated for this summer.

SIA said the decision to invest in an on-site medical facility was driven by their commitment to provide their associates with more personalized, convenient and cost effective health and wellness options.

“SIA’s new Health & Wellness Center is a substantial investment in our Associates and their families,” stated Tom Easterday, SIA’s Executive Vice President. “It will not only be convenient for them and reduce their healthcare costs, it will also provide greater access to free healthcare screenings and wellness counseling that will help them enjoy healthier lives.”

WeCare TLC, a national provider of Workplace Clinics will be responsible for the management and oversight of the SIA Health & Wellness Center.

According to Ann Roberts, Regional Sales Manager for WeCare TLC, “SIA providing a workplace medical center for its Associates and their families shows a great deal of foresight and dedication on the part of SIA to a healthier workforce population.”

Staffed with a Board Certified Primary Care Physician, a Licensed Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurses, the new center will be accessible to SIA associates, retirees and dependents. The center’s extended hours of operation and convenient location are designed to meet the needs of SIA’s various shifts; and its on-site laboratory will result in additional time and cost savings for SIA’s associates and families.

In addition to primary and urgent care services, SIA’s Health & Wellness Center will offer Total Lifestyle Counseling (TLC). Because both SIA associates and SIA benefit from disease, illness and injury avoidance, SIA provides its associates with a comprehensive health and wellness program that focuses on prevention and healthy lifestyles. In a statement released by SIA, the company says that TLC will “enhance SIA’s health and wellness program by providing disease and wellness education through private, one-on-one counseling with a registered nurse.”

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Greater Lafayette Community Calendar

 December 2016