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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Nutrition: A Health Struggle of the Present to Preserve the Future

    Studies have shown that collegeundergraduates have extremely poor dietary habits, and that health suffers as aresult. Too often, students do not have access to adequate information abouthow to keep themselves well-fed and healthy.

    Ilena Key, an instructor of acourse entitled ‘?Introduction to Wellness,’ teaches her studentsabout the benefits of eating properly while in college.

    ‘?A high fat diet builds agreater risk for cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease,’ Key said,adding that illnesses like type-II diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes,may stems bad eating habits.

    Key brainstormed some ways in which the university canhelp students balance their diet. She suggested that Campus Dining place awhite board in the front of the food line at each on-campus dining facilitywith color-coded health facts.

    ‘?If we color-coded healthy meals on the board, itwould be analogous to a heart symbol next to a healthy entree on aChili’s dinner menu,’ Key said. ‘?It makes the consumersaware.’

    Heather Bianchini, a former StonyBrook student who is currently a sophomore at the University of Delaware,considers herself a healthy eater.

    ‘?I like to pick something thatlooks fresh and healthy, although I think in general both schools do not alwaysserve the freshest foods,’ Bianchini said. She said she usually enhancesthe taste of as vegetables and other foods with ketchup, a practice that manyof her friends consider ‘?weird.’

    On the other side of the spectrum is Laura Bradford, afive-foot-five, one-hundred-twenty-five-pound freshman who said she is a veryunhealthy eater. She said that much of her dietary intake is comprised of friedfoods and sweets.

    ‘?If it tastes good, I eat it,’ Bradford said.’?This may sound funny, but I want to gain weight. Basically, I eatwhatever if it tastes good.’

    Stony Brook students can findnutritional help and counseling by contacting Ellen Driscoll, who counselsstudents with eating issues and disorders. Her nutrition counseling office isinside the infirmary.

    One of Driscoll’s mainconcerns is for the students who are trying to overcome an eating disorder.She said she is concerned that that the vegetarian dishes offered are usuallyunhealthy.

    ‘?The choices of food aresometimes beans sitting in a pile of grease, which does not appeal to those whoare trying to keep their calorie intake low,’ Driscoll said.

    Driscoll, like Bradford, said shethinks it would be beneficial to post the nutritional values close to the foodat the various dining halls on campus.

    ‘?It is essential to offer healthy choices such asvegetables, lean meats and tuna to students because these are healthy choicesthat health-conscious students look for,’ Driscoll said.

    Students with eating disorders seek a daily balance offood groups, she noted, and usually avoid sugars, on which they tend to binge.They look for rice and vegetables to fulfill their need for carbohydrates.

    From private sessions with thoseworried about their nutrition, Driscoll has gathered enough information toconclude that those who seek a nutritious diet usually do a lot of their owncooking.

    ‘?Although there are somegood choices in campus dining areas, students with eating disorders feel theyneed to be in control and often buy groceries off-campus,’ Driscoll said.

    Teri Tiso, associate professor ofphysical education, has studied the nutritional outlook of students from aphysical aspect. Tiso emphasized the fact that active students eat 300 to 500more calories per day than inactive students do. Inactive students sometimeseat only 1500 to1600 calories per day, which is average for what their activitylevel demands. Nutritional supplements such as power bars, power fruit drinksand pills usually add another 300 to 500 more calories on top of the foodsactive students consume.

    ‘?Students who use these supplements usually needthem because their lifestyle is fast,’ Tiso said. ‘?They areactive, on the move and need calories rather quickly.’

    While taking supplements, if abalance of nutrients is not present in the student’s diet, an intake ofempty calories may result. This is a poor habit to get into, Tiso said, if theindividual relies on these supplements to get through the day.

    ‘?Students must have a basicknowledge of protein, fat, minerals, vitamins, and water and the proper balanceof each,’ Tiso said. ‘?They must also know how to prepare their ownfood as well as how to choose food portions so that they will get enough of theright calories, and can then avoid excess fat, simple sugars, and salt in theirdiets.’

    In Tiso’s opinion, theuniversity should offer more wellness classes like the one taught by Key.

    ‘?I personally believe thiscourse should be a requirement, but that is difficult to incorporate on campus,’she said. ‘?Most of the students declare that the information they learnis beneficial for life.’

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