Healthy habits during college can last for a lifetime

Amanda Klitsch

Bad nutrition habits in college could have lifelong consequences

Nutrition programs available through the Student Recreation and Wellness Center are important to students now because their habits have a lifelong impact.

Nutrition programs available through the Student Recreation and Wellness Center are important to students now because their habits have a lifelong impact.

Bad nutrition habits in college could have lifelong consequences, according to health experts at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

“Nutrition should be important for college students because the diet and exercise habits they instill now are likely to stick with them as they age,” said Jodie Luidhardt, nutrition outreach program coordinator. “Following unhealthy eating habits as you age increases your risk of becoming overweight or obese, developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other autoimmune complications.”

With such threatening risks, students may seek to improve their habits while they have the time and resources at Kent State. One option available is individual nutrition counseling at the rec center.

“Individual nutrition counseling with a registered dietitian generally includes a detailed discussion about the client’s diet and exercise habits,” Luidhardt said. “The RD gives tips and suggestions on how to eat healthier and maps out a meal plan for clients’ specific health goals.”

Another option provided by the rec center is a one- or three-day diet analysis.

“With a diet analysis, a client keeps a diet record or journal for one or three days and the RD enters the foods into a sophisticated software program, which will analyze the diet’s energy, vitamin, mineral and nutrient adequacy,” Luidhardt said.

Some students have already begun to realize the importance of nutrition in their everyday lifestyle.

“I try to watch what I eat on a daily basis,” said Mary-Kate Garvey, freshman speech-language pathology and audiology major. “If I get snacks, I try to keep away from the fatty foods and stick with food with high fiber.

“Good nutrition habits keep a person focused and feeling well. If a student has bad eating habits they could feel sluggish and unmotivated.”

Other students feel so strongly about the importance of nutrition that they’ve taken on the subject as their major, such as junior nutrition major Brittany Klein.

“Nutrition is very important to me,” Klein said. “Obesity and chronic health diseases are many factors that contribute to the leading causes of death in this country. Students are at the critical age where watching their dietary intake can have major effects on their health outcomes for their lives after college.”

All people are different, but one of the prominent issues among students is they do not consume enough fruits and vegetables, Luidhardt said. Students, including Klein and Garvey, agree this is their biggest fault in trying to keep good habits.

“I eat most food groups and a lot of carbs,” Klein said. “But I love sweets and I also hate vegetables almost in any form.”

Although Garvey describes fruits and vegetables as a daily need, she says she also does not reach the recommended number of servings.

For students looking to improve these habits, programs offered by the rec center range in price for students from $6 to $19 for the diet analysis programs and from $17 to $74 for nutrition counseling, depending on the number of sessions. There is also counseling available through the Nutrition Outreach Program in Nixson Hall.

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness reporter Amanda Klitsch at [email protected].