Unhealthiness: A College Experience

junk food sickness insomnia

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When I came to college I had heard of the freshman fifteen, which is when you gain fifteen pounds in your freshman year, but I never thought of all of the other health problems that you can get in college. The most common health problems that I noticed while in college are bad eating habits, a lack of sleep, and getting sick.

The food at CNU is great and they have options, but I usually did not take the healthy ones. Like on September 20th I “had three slices of pizza…” (Miro 9/20) from Commons instead of having a salad or some other type of vegetable. I am not the only one who struggles with eating right. On September 17th it was Carnival food day at Commons and Regattas and all of my friends and I ate really unhealthily. One of my friends got a salad, but it remained untouched throughout the rest of the meal.

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Unhealthy eating is a nationwide problem. Research from Northwestern University in a study said that “95 percent of college students fail to eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables”. I fall into the 95 percent because I definitely don’t eat five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday and it is due to that that I do not get the required amount of vitamins and nutrients.

The vitamins and nutrients that we get from eating fruits and vegetables are necessary for our body’s and they also help prevent a plethora of health problems. According to the Harvard School of Public Health eating enough fruits and vegetables can help prevent heart problems, some types of cancer, and lower the risk of eye and digestive problems.

It is important to eat healthy because according to the US Department of Health and Human Services unhealthy eating leads to 310,000-580,000 deaths in the US every year. Eating unhealthy can also lead to becoming overweight or obese. According to the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey says that 75.4% of American adults over the age of twenty are overweight, obese, or extremely obese.

Another problem with people at college not being healthy is how a lot of people are sick or are getting sick. Over half of my friends at CNU have been sick since they have been at college. I was thinking that “I might be getting sick because my throat was hurting” (Miro 9/21) at one point because I am around all of my sick friends a lot of the time. So, I “had orange juice to try to prevent sickness” (Miro 9/21) because orange juice is supposedly able to help fend off getting sick. Getting sick in college is a really commonplace thing, because students are in close contact with each other and because of everyone’s weakened immune systems from lack of sleep and unhealthy eating. When you have a roommate you live in close contact with that person for the year and if they get sick you still have to live in close contact with them and it is very likely that you will also get sick.

Eating healthy is something that sound easy and it is something that you can do yourself, but it can actually be pretty hard in college. When I lived at my parent’s house my mom would always try to cook food that was healthy and balanced with all of the food groups. Since I have come to college I am responsible for my own eating habits and diet. This is a problem because I can choose what I am going to eat now and the food does not come balanced with all of the food groups. When I go to eat a meal I usually do not think about how healthy it is. I usually think about how it tastes or what I am in the mood for, and it is because of this that we college students do not eat healthy.

The last of the three health issues that I encountered was a lack of sleep. The recommended amount of sleep for young adults is 7-9 hours according to the National Sleep Foundation. On September 21st “I went to bed at 3:30am” (Miro 9/21) and “I woke up at 9:45am” (Miro 9/21), so on that day I had six hours and forty-five minutes of sleep, which has actually been a decent amount of sleep compared to other days. The next day on September 22 I “went to bed at 2:45am” (Miro 9/22) and I “woke up at 7:45am” (Miro 9/22), which means I received five hours of sleep. Most of time this is about how much sleep I have gotten in college, which is definitely below the recommended amount of sleep that I should be getting at my age. I am not the only one who does not get enough sleep. I usually stay up late with a few of my friends and one of them has 8am classes every day, so when he goes to bed at 2am, which he usually does, he gets six hours of sleep every day.

However, not getting enough sleep is a bigger issue that faces a lot more college students than just me and my friends. According to the National Center for Biotechnology 50% of college students have daytime sleepiness, which is a significant amount higher than the 36% of children and adults. Not getting enough sleep is a serious issue and it can have profound effects on your life. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School not getting enough sleep can have serious health consequences, like heart problems and high blood pressure. But, not getting enough sleep does not just have just have long term consequences according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School it also has more immediate side effects like bad moods, having trouble focusing, and difficulties using higher-level cognitive functions. These side effects could definitely impact a college student’s performance in school and could lead to receiving a lower GPA or other academic related troubles.

The issues that I have encountered and experienced while at college are unhealthy eating, unhealthy sleeping, and sickness. These problems that I have seen are not just at CNU, but are problems that are on every college campus, and these are things that everyone faces.

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