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Young Doesn't Necessarily Mean Healthy

Young Doesn't Necessarily Mean Healthy

Time at college is often looked back on as the good ol' days, but new reports indicate new trends in college aged kids might be making them old before their time.

A recent survey of 800 University of New Hampshire undergraduates found some unhealthy traits in the students surveyed. More than two-thirds of the women were not meeting their RDI's of iron, calcium or folate. While well over 50 percent of the male students had high blood pressure and 8% had metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms used as predictors for future heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In essence, those undergrads would be getting a low grade for overall health.

Public health experts fear that if this trend continues, this age group will begin to experience chronic diseases at earlier ages than previous generations.

So if you are in college and feel like you are missing those three vital nutrients, you should know the RDI for iron is 18 mg and you can find iron in beef, tofu and sun dried tomatoes. Look for folate in leafy greens and beans. Remember to eat your calcium since it is more effective at strengthening your bones if the mineral comes to you as a food source not a supplement.

Fit's Tip: Take advantage of the free gym your college has to offer. Facilities at colleges and universities are great, and when you graduate, trust me, you are going to miss having access to the free fitness center on campus.


beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
so crazy - my university doesn't have free gyms - they're about $400 a year. i really do want to join but don't have the cash. we have to pay $200 a year for athletics but this goes to crap sports teams that i don't care about! there aren't any "healthy" foods or places to eat on campus and the campus is really isolated from the rest of the city. i don't think people at my school are trying to be thin (generally)- people wear sweat pants etc in Vancouver, and are generally very casual. the meal plans in dorms are insane - lots of fried things and just bad food. i have tried to eat healthfully but i make my own food often, not eat at school - but when i am there all day i need some food at times and the little organic food store on campus is expensive! sometimes it is a veggie sandwich at subway or starve.
Vexedlovely Vexedlovely 10 years
yeah, i don't know one person who was really healthy while i was in college. I even gave up and ate the dining hall food!
Spectra Spectra 10 years
When I was in college, we had free gyms, but it was so hard to get in to use them because all the "pickup chicks" were in there all made up and flirting with the athletic guys. They would sit on the machines doing nothing and make everyone else wait forever to get in. I started running in college and I always bought my own food because I didn't trust the campus food (most of it was pretty high in calories). I also knew a lot of women who smoked in college as a weight loss aid and now they are regretting it because they want to quit and can't. It's better to carry around a few extra pounds than to be a smoker, that's for sure.
leigha926 leigha926 10 years
leigha926 leigha926 10 years
college has definitely been an unhealthy time for me...i don't eat enough, am anemic, have low blood pressure, and i don't sleep enough. i try to keep fit and take care of myself, but it's hard with my ridiculous shedule and the amount of stress i'm under right now.
ShedItandGetIt ShedItandGetIt 10 years
I definititely agree Marygrace...I live in a sorority house and bring all my own protein because 1. I'm a vegetarian and 2. they won't buy lower fat and lower sugar versions of things like yogurt. Also, like you said, our "fruit bar" sucks. Last year I gained a TON of weight living in the house, this year I just decided to take charge. It's a hassle, but I feel wayyy better. People are always like, "Why do you bring so much food? It's a small grocery store in your room." Well, because I want to be healthy! I try to encourage my friends in the house to get more sleep, take their vitamins, walk to class, etc. but it's just not part of college culture in so many ways...I feel like college in general is just an unhealthy time unless you set your mind to making it better, and many people do lose weight in college because they take charge of their bodies once they are away from home. I guess it's what you make of it.
marygrace marygrace 10 years
loveyoumeanit- you're right about a lot of students adopting unhealthy habits, or negating the healthful ones like working out with nights of drinking. of course, the college can't be blamed for that. i guess i didn't even think of that because its not really a part of my lifestyle nor that of most of the people i keep company with. we really do make an effort to be healthy, but sometimes the college environment can make it more difficult.
ShedItandGetIt ShedItandGetIt 10 years
I think so many college students focus on staying thin rather than being healthy. Yes, working out is a huge part of health, but I know many students who will spend an hour at the gym, but don't get their vitamins, don't drink water and drink soda, drink wayyy too much alcohol, don't get enough IS hard to remember to do those things in college, and if you live in the dorms, you do face more of a challenge, but some of the unhealthy habits the study highlights, like not getting enough calcium, cannot be blamed on the schools.
marygrace marygrace 10 years
most of the people i know at college are interested in being healthy. a great testament to this is the huge amount of students you see jogging around campus at all hours of the day (and well into the night!) as far as the school gym goes, though, its really not that great of a place. its extremely hot in there even in the winter, and is very small and cramped. plus, you have to call ahead to reserve any cardio machines, and you can only use them for a half hour max. generally, its just not that nice of an environment, and since i would never go in there myself, i can't blame other students for feeling the same way. lucky for me, i prefer jogging outside at all times of the year. as far as students not meeting their dietary recommendations, the college is again largely to blame. when i look at the items students choose in our dining hall, you can see that the majority of them are making an effort to be healthy - people choose a good amount of salads, and take whatever fresh fruit they can find. however, the dining hall really doesn't cater much to healthy eaters - most of what is offered is fried or otherwise just greasy, or bathed in heavy sauces. the vegetables they do offer are almost always overcooked into oblivion, and the fruit choices are boring and often completely underripe. they serve no whole grains, and while the salad bar is decent, it gets pretty boring and even a little depressing to live on salad every single day. while my omnivorous friends find it difficult enough to eat healthfully on campus, being a vegan, as you can imagine, makes it all the more harder. i have resorted to buying a lot of frozen or prepared meals from whole foods that i can microwave and eat in my room instead. i see a lot of college students wanting to be healthy and trying to put in the effort to do so, however, it is often the college itself thats holding them back from being able to do this.
mizlynz mizlynz 10 years
I wish the fitness center at my college had been free. They've got the best gym in town.
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