Collegiate health habits deceptively simple with organization

Healthy College Students
Vending machines offer quick and cheap food, but are full of unhealthy selections. · photo by Samantha Milliren

Between studying for classes, sleeping and trying to maintain a social life, it becomes hard for some college students to focus on being healthy. If students sit down and take a little time out of their day to plan meals and workout plans, experts say, it is simple to stay healthy while in college.

Michelle Pietrzak, assistant professor of health, exercise science and athletics found that a perceived lack of time may contribute to unhealthiness.

“The students who do make healthy food choices and participate in an exercise program are often students who have been exposed to the importance of daily exercise and healthy nutrition from early on in their life,” Pietrzak said. “On the other hand, there are some students who have fallen into the fast food, high caloric energy drinks and lack of daily exercise habits because of the high demands on their time. They choose the quick, cheap and sedentary lifestyle.”

Overall, what students should know is that being healthy really is not that complicated or time-consuming, it just takes some planning and being organized.

“It is much harder to stay healthy in college. I played three sports [in high school] that kept me in really good shape, so I figured that let me eat whatever I want. Now I have to watch what I eat more often,” UW-Fox Freshman Tess Verhyen said.

There are many students like Verhyen who were very active in high school, and that influenced their eating habits.

“I don’t find it as hard to stay healthy in college, just because I maintain a constant workout schedule, and before I left for college I tried to keep a healthy diet. All in all, I am down about 20 pounds and work out once or twice a day,” UW-Eau Claire Freshman Jeff Steers said.

College food offerings may also contribute to the challenge of student health.

“A lot of the food provided isn’t the healthiest, but it’s what is included in our meal plan. I just try and plan out my meals ahead, and only eat one meal from the school cafeteria, and work out as often as I can,” Steers said.

Some students will think that trying to be healthy is very hard while in college. With the pressures of schooling as well, it might be harder to keep healthy, but with some planning, it is quite simple to maintain a healthy diet.