College and University years are a period of freedom, socializing, development and preparation. Many student will leave their home for the first time and a lot of things that were taken for granted will now become daily chores. Naturally between adapting to these changing, studying and socializing there isn’t much time left for other things. But how much is all this affecting young peoples health and increasing the risk of future health problems?
Unfortunately many young adults lead a bad college lifestyle. Statistics show that a little over 20% smoke, while more than 1 in 4 are not involved in any type of physical activity with others limiting it to a short walk. Unhealthy diets and failure to pay attention to their reproductive health complete the picture.
There are several factors affecting student diets, some related to socio-economic status, budget, habit from home, and the available time to cook at home. Statistics vary largely from country to country and depend on factors like whether more students live in dormitories or rentals. The concerning issue though is that in most countries university and college students eat well under the recommended daily dose of vegetables and fruit if they eat any at all. Food insecurity (not being able to afford a healthy diet) is also a growing concern, especially in countries with high education fees.
Another popular bad habit among students is binge drinking. As drinking in general is a large part of the bad college lifestyle and culture in many countries this doesn’t come to much surprise.
“This data is consistent with other studies that have documented a decline in lifestyle followed by the younger generations,” says Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of the Section of Medicine at Humanitas Hospital. “The thing that is most striking is that college students are involved and they should be more aware than the average peers. Among them, there are definitely students of faculties related in various ways to the world of health.”
Why is there a tendency in boys to follow improper lifestyles?
“There are several reasons, for example, a sedentary lifestyle can be blamed on the lack of free time due to studying commitments. Unfortunately, eating is often related to having lunch in a hurry and eating fast food and snacks in the evening, which is wrong.”
How can these imbalanced lifestyles be corrected?
- Inform yourself! “Firstly, it is advised to find out about all these aspects, from good nutrition to exercise, their benefits and what damage can result from improper behavior.”
- Less “coffee breaks” and sandwiches: “Even when you are out you can eat in a more healthy way just by avoiding sweet and savory snacks at vending machines or sandwiches at the bar. Instead choose a salad or a plate of lean meat with vegetables, for example.”
- Just get organized and find the right time: “We can organize our time for studying and find an hour to exercise. Alternatively, never forget that you can always fight against a sedentary lifestyle even outside gyms or pools. Why not walk instead of taking the subway?”
- Track vices: “Stop smoking and drink very little alcohol, especially if you go out in the evening and if you have a drinking problem.”
A survey in Italy among university students declared a 77.1% of the sample in good or excellent health. However, this is not enough: “We can simultaneously have a healthy amount of iron or red blood cells in the body and follow a bad college lifestyle, which is especially true in younger individuals. For this reason, you should consult with a doctor for a general checkup and specialists such as a gynecologist, regularly. He who is healthy can be even healthier if they follow a proper lifestyle, otherwise, tomorrow might be too late to reverse the course,” says Professor Lucini.