International Student Begins Journey to Promote Obesity Awareness

For most of August, Ankurman Shrestha will travel the lower 48 states to promote awareness about obesity in America. Will he be traveling to a city near you?

25 days. 48 states. 2,400 pushups.

That’s what the month of August looks like for Ankurman (Ankur) Shrestha. While most of us spend August enjoying the last bit of summer and preparing for the fall semester, today is the start of Ankur’s journey across the lower 48 states.

Ankur international student voice magazineHe’s calling his journey “A Drive to Inspire“. He plans to stop in each state, complete 50 pushups, and meet with people to talk about the obesity epidemic in the United States. He’ll also be raising money for Groceryships, a non-profit organization that helps provide groceries to families, along with other medical, educational, and emotional resources.

Ankur, a native of India faced his own struggles with his weight. When he was a sophomore in college, 19-years-old standing 5 feet 10 inches tall (178cm), he weighed more than 210 pounds (97 kg). It wasn’t until he received a wake-up call from his uncle who explained to him the history of diabetes and premature heart attacks in his family that he knew something had to change.

By the time Ankur graduated college in 2011, he lost 50 pounds. He learned about the world of health and fitness, the science behind nutrition and exercise and the physiology of motivation. He even saved money by not paying gym membership fees by learning how to use his own body weight to do exercises.

Ankur is currently a PhD student studying chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. By crafting and working toward his own American Dream, he hopes to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone as well as promote obesity awareness.

“I would like to inspire others to be fit and inspire the international student community to make a difference,” Ankur said. “We get in our ‘country bubble’, we only stay with people from our own country. There is a lot out there and so much diversity the [U.S.] has to offer.”

Where did the idea of ‘A Drive to Inspire’ come from?

On May 19, 2014, I got an email from University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering & Applied Sciences Graduate Admissions Office, of a $391 increase in my  2014-2015 tuition and fees. Out of the $391, a hike of  more than $200 was an increase in my health insurance premium. This came less as a surprise and more as a reason for me to take actions towards both, my personal finances so as to keep myself covered for the forthcoming school year, and also dig deep into the healthcare system in the U.S.

At first, $200 didn’t seem that big of a figure but it soon occurred to me that this amounted to almost 3 months of living expenses for my parents back at home in India.

I pulled up my research socks and dug into hundreds of peer reviewed journals on the subject: ‘Causes for the rising medical care costs in the United States’.

Obesity – the number one cause for the increasing healthcare costs in the U.S.

I knew I had to take actions – for the love of my parents and to make my dreams come true.

And thus, ‘A Drive to Inspire’ was born.

Ankur also had the opportunity to travel across 21 states in 2013 and said every city he visited he witnessed obesity. His American dream is to “help create a world with highly motivated, passionate, and healthy individuals having a plethora of energy to accomplish any task humanly possible, at a physical, mental, and social level. That one day this world will be free of all medical illness, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.”

Is Ankur coming to a city near you?

Click here to view all the cities he’ll be visiting and let him know you’ll be there to meet him!

We’ll be following Ankur as he travels across the U.S. You can also follow along by reading his blog.

You can also send messages of support directly to Ankur! Text him at 513-223-1217. Also support him via social media by using #drive2inspire

Learn more about A Drive to Inspire by visiting


international student voice magazine webCarrie2Carrie Circosta

Editor in Chief

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