By Andrew S. Paisley
Most college students and staff understand that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is increasing in the United States. CVD is currently the number one cause of death in our country. Yet, the isolated environment of a university campus can often grant students and staff a false sense of immunity from CVD and its associated risk factors. UVa students are young, academically driven and social, and sometimes it is hard to find time to think about health and wellness. Still, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in college, even when classes add on extra stress.
How students and staff take care of themselves now can greatly impact their health and wellness down the road. A university in Southeast Texas recently published a study that examined the prevalence of chronic disease risk factors among students on campus. The study found that many of the university’s students are considered high risk for developing a chronic disease such as diabetes or CVD. The assessed risk factors included family history, overweight BMI, over drinking, high blood pressure, current smoker, physical inactivity and high risk waist circumference. 17% of the participants had five or more risk factors for chronic disease. 62% of the participants had three or more. Additionally, daily fruit and vegetable consumption was poor in two thirds of the participants. The results of this study indicate that college campuses are at risk, similar to the general population.
There are many things students and staff can do to stay on top of their health and wellness. Among other factors, students and staff should focus on eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and finding time to incorporate physical activity. This article presents an excellent set of guidelines that all students and faculty should look in to. Furthermore, the UVa Intramural-Recreational Sports department is available as a resource on all topics relating to health and wellness.
Andrew S. Paisley is a student in the Curry School of Education, Kinesiology and works as the Fitness Coordinator for IM-REC Fitness & Wellness.
Student Health and Wellness Guide: http://www.onlinecolleges.net/for-students/student-health-wellness-guide/
Chen, JJ., Pegram, LI., Adcock, KR., Johnson, MR. (2014). Assessing risk factors for chronic disease and dietary behaviors of college students in southeast texas. American Journal of Nutrition and Food Science. 1(3); 64-71. http://manuscript.sciknow.org/uploads/ajnfs/pub/ajnfs_1397412552.pdf