College is the ultimate transition time for kids, your years in college set you up for the rest of your life and determine what kind of adult you’re going to be.
A study conducted by Northeastern Illinois University and Northwestern University revealed that the majority of college students in the US lead very unhealthy lifestyles that can possibly increase their risks of developing cancers in the future. College students that are of a racial minority, namely African Americans and Native Americans, are at even a greater risk of developing cancer.
A huge majority of college students (95%) do not meet their daily requirements of fruits and vegetables and more than 60% of students said that they did not engage in enough physical activity. Other than the poor diet and lack of physical activity, college students also binge on alcohol and tobacco, both of which only increase their risk of getting cancer.
Here are a few ways college students can be healthy:
1. Eat properly
Having a proper diet and eating at the right times will prevent you from gaining weight in college, boost your immune system and enhance your overall health. Making healthy eating choices in college can prove to be difficult since students tend to rely on cafeteria food and eating out but there are ways to eating healthy even when you’re out.
Because they don’t follow a proper routine, they tend to skip breakfast in the morning which makes them go into a state of starvation, causing them to overeat. Grabbing a banana or a granola bar is much healthier than going about your day with no breakfast. It’s not just breakfast that college students skip, their days don’t follow a schedule so they miss other meals too. Whether you are hungry or not, it’s important for you to eat small meals like a salad or sandwich that are both healthy and filling.
Due to their random eating times, college students often have cravings. Instead of ordering in the most fattening and sugary foods, try going for healthier options, such as whole wheat pizza with vegetables and low-fat cheese or a filling sub/wrap with the right balance of veggies and lean meat.
In order to get them through the day, college students snack on chips and other junk foods that don’t do them any good. They should go for healthier alternatives such as nuts or fruits and vegetables. You can keep eating bags of chips one after the other without ever feeling full which is why they’re so bad for you.
Physical activity is necessary for life. Exercise strengthens your immune system and is beneficial for your physical and mental health. College students may not be able to take much time out to exercise regularly but they can sneak in some exercise as they go about their day.
Walking or cycling to class would be the simplest way of getting in some exercise. Most colleges offer exercise classes on campus. They also organize recreational activities that students can avail, that way they are working out and still having fun.
3. Sleeping on regular hours
Not getting proper sleep is a major contributor to poor health in college students. Their irregular timings prevent them getting sleep that is necessary for their good health. Save the staying out for the weekends and don’t make it a regular thing. Lack of sleep can make it difficult to concentrate on tasks, can cause headaches and lead to weight loss/weight gain. In order to focus on their assignments and classes, college students should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. If you are unable to sleep in the night then get some short naps in during the day.
4. Quit Smoking
It’s easy to get into the habit of smoking when you’re college, whether you begin as a social smoker or you smoke to de-stress. It’s not a secret that smoking is an awful habit that you are better off not starting. Smoking can cause lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. If you’ve been smoking before college, then enroll yourself in a program that helps you quit.
5. Caffeinated and sugary drinks
Way too many students depend on caffeinated and sugary drinks to keep them alert when studying. It may seem like you are benefitting from them but they affect your health in the long-term. They may provide you with instant energy but they also cause you to crash hard later.
6. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential for everyone. Drinking water will keep you full for longer while keeping your body and mind replenished. If you’re not drinking enough water, you’ll find yourself getting exhausted easily and will struggle with focusing on tasks as well.
7. Get a flu shot
College students can’t afford to get sick which is why they should prepare in advance and get a flu shot before flu season hits.