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A college student's diet: soda, chips, fast food, candy

Laura Jaime
Guest Columnist

The Daily Cougar

Is your idea of breakfast two donuts and a cup of coffee? Or would you rather opt for no breakfast at all? And how many times have you skipped lunch in order to have one last "cram" session for your next class? Such is life for many college students whose nutritional health seems to be neglected due to the demands of school and work.

But who has the time to concern themselves with their eating habits? Certainly not college students, because we barely have time to get eight hours of sleep, much less to eat an occasional well-balanced meal. But not taking the time to at least learn about your own nutritional health can have dangerous consequences in the years to come.

You know that saying: "You are what you eat?" Well, it's true, because everything you eat now can and will affect the quality and length of your life. Now is the time to take care of yourself; don't wait 20 years from now until after you've suffered your first heart attack and/or stroke. (Consider this: a substantial percentage of 20-year-old men already show signs of arteriosclerosis. Now, do you really want to die before your children win the lottery?)

According to the American Heart Association, reducing the "controllable" risk factors - those factors you can change now - may prevent heart disease and stroke in the future. This, of course, would include changing your eating habits to fit a healthier lifestyle. But this is not to imply that you should go on a diet; it is merely a suggestion that making healthy choices and eating sensibly are some solutions to better health and wellness.

You can eat well no matter what your lifestyle - athlete, student or working parent. Eating well simply means eating a variety of foods that include sufficient amounts of protein, fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, water and calcium. It is obvious that you can fulfill your daily requirements by eating almost anything - and without the guilt.

It is also just as important to reduce your daily intake of fat. It is recommended that no more than 30 percent of your total daily calories comes from fat. This will help decrease your risk of developing high blood cholesterol, which often leads to heart disease. Lowering your fat intake will also help your body burn calories faster, and as a result, you will feel better and have more energy.

So, even the smallest of changes to your diet can make difference. And the smaller the change, the greater the likelihood that you will stick to it, because making a change that you can live with is the key to a healthier, happier you.

Jaime is a senior speech communications major and a member of Cougar P.E.P.


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This site was created by Daniel Vargas in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University., Spring 2005.