Many college students unhealthy and overweight

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Day Care & Education

An ongoing survey has surprised scientist by revealing that American university students are increasingly unhealthy due to bad diets and lack of physical activity.

As part of the University of New Hampshire's Young Adult Health Risk Screening Initiative, scientists surveyed nearly 800 college students about their diets and daily activities. They also looked at weight, blood pressure and indicators for heart disease and diabetes. They found that about one-third of students were overweight and 10 percent were obese.

It's not just how many calories these young adults are eating that is making them unhealthy, it is what they are eating. The survey found that 80% of students don't get enough potassium in their diets and that they aren't consuming the recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D. Also, most students consume too much sodium, which is being blamed for the fact that more than half the men and 20 percent of the women surveyed had high blood pressure readings.

Physical inactivity was also identified as a problem among college students.One third of the students surveyed reported getting less than 30 minutes of exercise each day.

None of this surprises me. I live in a college town and have a college daughter. Christy really wants to be physically healthy. But all those hours in the library or sitting in class leave little time for exercise. Her diet is based on what she can afford and how much time she has to eat it. Her school does offer a gym for students, but that doesn't fit into her schedule. She has found one way to get exercise; she has stopped driving her car as often and walks to campus whenever possible. What else can she do?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.