Improving the Health of College Students
“Did you know that public buildings seating over one hundred people will soon have to enlarge their seats to make accommodations for overweight people?” (Winfrey) This question is only a slight definition of the problem with the unhealthy habits of today’s Americans. Research suggests that this problem of overwhelming weight gain of Americans is beginning with college students. It is estimated that the average college student will gain 15 pounds during their freshman year.
Unhealthy habits, of course, are not a new problem among college students. But part of the reason that unhealthy habits remains a problem in colleges and universities may be that people are uninformed and do not know any real solutions for the problem.
The problem is American college students are putting their health at risk with poor eating and exercise habits because they are uneducated about nutrition. The problem is not being solved because each individual has their own idea about what good health means. After researching, I found that at Arizona State University there are only two courses taught about health and exercise that can be taken to fulfill the general studies requirements (ASU Bulletin 77). One of the two classes is FON 344: Nutrition Services Management, in which the student will learn organization, administration, and management of food and nutrition services in hospitals and other institutions. The second class taught is NUR 254: Health for All : Issues of World Health. In this class students will be introduced to issues of world health, determines of health and relationships of health to development and change. Out of the five core areas and three awareness areas, students only have these two courses to educate them on health and exercise.
Research shows that Americans as a whole are uneducated about health and nutrition. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have released the Third Report on Nutrition Monitoring in the United States, a comprehensive 2-volume report which reviews the dietary and nutritional status of the U.S. population. Among the report’s findings:
*Americans are slowly changing their eating patterns toward more healthful diets, but a considerable gap remains between public health recommendations and consumer practices.
*About one-third of adults and one-fifth of adolescents in the United States are overweight. These results represent increases in the prevalence of overweight since 1979.
*Despite significant progress, 20 percent of Americans still have high serum cholesterol levels.
*Many Americans are not getting the calcium they need to maintain optimal bone health and prevent age-related bone loss, particularly adolescents, adult females, elderly people and nonhispanic black males.
*Less than one-third of American adults meet the recommendation to consume five...