The Future of America: Freshmen 15 Crisis
As obesity rates continue to rise worldwide, the U.S. sets an example of culturally influenced weight problems and therefore ranks ninth out the ten of the fattest countries, according to the World Health Organization (Streib). College campuses in the U.S. are the perfect example of cultural weight gain. At Towson University, the large number of freshman gaining the stereotypical "freshman 15" can be explained by poor eating and exercising habits developed in college and the university's dining options. A lot of incoming students come into college already aware of what the freshman 15 is but still manage to develop horrid eating habits. A great way to help solve such an issue is to inform students about this health issue that is only continuing to flourish. To do this universities need to step of to this nationwide concern and include a health and wellness component to our Univ. 100 classes in which students will learn what they should eat and what habits to avoid. Despite what some optimistic researchers say, the freshman 15 is real. Some have argued that most freshmen are doing better with their diet now than in the past; however we are still gaining around eight pounds a year (“Some”). It is difficult to go from a controlled and routine schedule of eating and exercising at home to the free world of choices at college. In his recent work Daniel Hoffman, a professor at Rutgers University, points out that it is “perhaps most important for students to recognize that seemingly minor and perhaps even harmless changes in eating or exercise behavior may result in large changes in weight and body fat mass over an extended period of time” (Hoffman). The fact is that students are not leaving home prepared enough for the world of late night pizza and consumption of alcohol that characterizes most students’ college years. If a nutrition lecture or a healthy lifestyle class were mandatory for incoming students it would provide a new perspective on diet and health. After becoming notified on the issue students can find their own routine of a well balanced diet and an hour of exercise per day at school. If students were informed they could start researching nutritional facts on what food they should eat and what time of the day would best to consume it. Professor Elizabeth Klasen from the University of Wisconsin insists this national phenomenon can be “attributed to dorm food, and may be associated with altered meal and sleep patterns” (Klasen). Students are forced upon sleeping abnormal hours along with eating unhealthy food consumption at inappropriate times, making it difficult to for them to eat fewer than 2000 calories or even exercise the recommended 15 minutes a day. It is difficult to maintain a healthy balanced diet on a college campus that is filled with fast food like diners and limits students to only fifteen dollars of food a day, making the alternative of more expensive and healthier foods not an realistic option. This inconvenience of healthy food and convenience of junk food was “all it took for freshmen to gain seven pounds over two semesters” in a 2006 Rutgers study (“Some”). For those students, the difference between maintaining a healthy weight and gaining seven pounds “was about 112 extra calories a day. That's one soda or half a cookie a day, or 10 minutes less of exercise” (“Some”). For instance, to get a healthy meal at one of Towson’s diners, let’s say a pre-made salad, you have to pay six dollars and wait in a mile-long line. Then, as you are standing in that line you look over and see a non-existent line for that slice of pizza and start to think to yourself, Why should I pay three times more for this salad and wait in line for 15 minutes when I only have 20 minutes until my next class, when I could go grab that last piece of pizza? Unfortunately, college presents even more opportunities for students to eat poorly,...
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