By: Cory Berlekamp
The choice to eat healthier is obvious when it comes to one’s health but for busy college students, the healthier option is not always the easiest.
At the beginning of February, a study led by the American Cancer Society revealed that cancers linked to obesity were rising in young adults. According to Stanford Health Care, the main way to combat this are healthier diets but according to some students; hurdles like stress, convenience, time, and exhaustion can stand in the way.
“I know the food in the dining hall is something that is easy and quick to serve but a lot of the time it is not the healthiest option,” said Alex Chittum, a sophomore at the University of Findlay.
As a varsity soccer player, resident assistant at the Village, and employee at the outreach center on campus, Chittum has a full schedule but still tries to eat as healthy as he can.
“I typically try and make the healthier decision just because I’m in the soccer program and I want to keep my body in shape,” said Chittum but he does notice a trend in other students’ diets. “People are busy with school, academic involvement, or just campus involvement so they will order food a lot of the times or go get fast food.”
This is not uncommon according to a study from the Bethel School of Nursing on college eating habits. It states that college students don’t necessarily look at fast food as an unhealthy option among other factors. The study also referenced a study done at Brown University about convenience when it comes to diets.
“Many college students tended to select food according to convenience, taste, time, and price rather than nutritional values,” as stated in the background of the study. “Many college students tended to choose quick and tasty options, which were usually available through vending machines”
As an R.A., Chittum lives in the dorms on Findlay’s campus. According to him there are not many options to cook his own food in the dormitory.
“The only thing you can cook food with is a microwave to heat up stuff,” said Chittum. “I wish there was a way to cook food in the dorms, I think that would help improve lifestyles, better diets and things of that nature.”
Though he aims to live in a house next semester, there are other hurdles to cooking dinner for yourself according to 27-year-old Mackenzie Norris, a full time student at the University of Toledo who also works a full time job.
“Time is so limited when you’re in school and work full time, you are exhausted constantly so the allure of calling and picking something up versus spending an hour prepping and cleaning up after yourself is definitely there,” said Norris. “You have to motivate yourself to want to cook which is nearly impossible when you are tired all the time.”
She also talked about how stress becomes a factor when it comes to eating specifically things like fast food. An article published by Harvard Medical School says that there are ways to destress without overeating like meditation, exercise, and social support but these things can be easier said than done.
According to Norris, it is keeping up the motivation that is difficult when it comes to eating healthy.
“I get really motivated when I’m at work and I’ll make all these plans,” said Norris. “I’m going to get home and chop up all this produce that I have and get stuff ready then cook something but then I get home, change my clothes, and collapse.”