Eating a healthy diet is very important for emotional, physical, and cognitive health. It gives brain and body the necessary vitamins and minerals to work well. However, the eating habits of young adults have increasingly shifted towards consuming junk and processed food. Students at St. Louis University (SLU) are not an exception and are involved in heavy consumption of unhealthy food which leads to health issues such as weight gain. The researchers worldwide have identified the ways which could be used to encourage the students to eat healthily. The following essay discusses the problem of unhealthy food consumption for students at SLU and suggests some recommendations to overcome it.
Students at SLU are heavy consumers of junk and processed food. Some of the reasons for which they prefer it include its availability, low cost, the learners’ long stay at campus, tight deadlines of their assignments and exams. A large number of researchers have studied the causes and consequences of the habit under consideration in the university students.
In America, fast food industry has become a billion-dollar one, and customers of all ages are served by the fast food restaurants where meals are available in large number of varieties and prices. According to Reisch, et al, there were more than 160,000 fast food outlets in United States in 2012 with the food and beverages sales exceeding 740 billion US dollars. Moreover, the statistics published by a website Statisticbrain.com highlights that an average person in the US consumes the following proportion of daily nutrients from the fast food: 37% of calories, 42.6% of carbs, 33.6% of fat and 15.4% of protein. Undoubtedly, such intake results in the issue of obesity.
One of the groups of people that is becoming addicted to junk food is comprised of the youth which has become a problem that has to be worked upon. As it has been stated above, unhealthy meals result in serious health issues despite being delicious and available. In particular, the growth and development of the students are greatly affected. For instance, the increase in the consumption of junk food led to numerous cases of obesity and many other diseases which is mainly due to the high level of fat and sugar, and low level of protein and fiber in the dishes. Moreover, the consumption pattern of these learners can affect their adulthood as fast food intake results in cardiovascular diseases and coronary problems and increased resistance to insulin which can eventually lead to diabetes.
Deliens, et al. state that students always have an opportunity to consume healthy food; however, they are influenced greatly by their social life (peers, friends, lack of parental guidance), individual factors (time, preference, convenience), macro environment (media, social media) and physical surroundings (location, accessibility, prices). As a consequence, many of them fall prey to excessive alcohol and fat consumption. Their diet includes eat a lot of burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and soft drinks and lacks fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, it has been observed that students tend to prefer fast food because of the quickness and convenience of eating at restaurants or ordering out instead of cooking at home since they are usually short of time. Finally, price plays a huge role as some of them feel that it is cheaper and does not create a huge dent in their pockets.
The intervention programs for controlling the eating habits should focus on the psychological factors which are often neglected by the medical practitioners as well as the authorities developing the schemes. The researchers have performed a survey and measurement of BMI of college students in Mexico, and it has been found that their eating habits have a significant impact on the abdominal obesity. Moreover, depression and impulsivity has also been higher in the learners who alter eating behaviors. Based on these findings, it is necessary to create awareness about the seriousness of the issues caused by unhealthy food consumption in the students of SLU.
To continue, a group of scientists have reported in a survey based study that students identified as having low health attitudes were more likely to rate unhealthier menu items as tastier and with a higher purchase intention compared to students with high health attitudes. Consequently, the former prefer to purchase unhealthy food with higher frequency as compared to the latter ones. The mentioned above argument leads to the conclusion that university students have low health attitudes. However, the study by Deliens, et al. offers an insight into the learners’ desires of consuming healthy food. The researcher has revealed that if not pressurized socially, the university students are likely to opt for healthy meals. Nevertheless, while at the university campus, individuals do not have a wide choice of healthy food which means they have to eat the available junk or processed meals. Therefore, it is not only necessary for the SLU to raise awareness concerning the healthy eating patterns, but also implement practical measures regarding making the healthy food accessible.
SLU should recognize that it is their responsibility as an institution to make healthy food available on campus. When institutions prioritize eating healthily, students eventually practice it on personal level. It has been identified by a number of scholars that students with healthy diet are less exposed to the health issues, stress and depression. In fact, consuming ‘unhealthy’ foods (e.g. sweets/cookies/snacks/fast food) was significantly positively associated with perceived stress. Thus, ensuring the presence of healthy meals would enable SLU to avoid colds and coughing to spread around campus residences which would directly impact the learners’ performance and productivity. In general, not only the physical health issues but also the mental ones could be coped with by SLU by offering the learners healthy food.
Additionally, the intervention program to improve the eating patterns of students at SLU should be aimed at raising awareness concerning the issue. To have an in-depth understanding about the learners’ perceptions about healthy food, the survey prior and post intervention program should be conducted that would assist in the identification of the success of the scheme. Students should be made to understand the negative impacts of fast weight loss methods, obesity, iron deficiency and eating disorders. For this, sessions regarding the effects of diet on intellectual development, growth and health should be organized, and events such as low carbon diet day, food week and eat local day can be arranged.
Furthermore, cafeterias at SLU can take some simple measures to encourage healthy and balanced students’ diets; for example, they can reduce processed snack food and candy offerings and focus more on stocking salad bars with more fresh ingredients. The healthy food should be made readily available in the vending machines and at fair price. Other options for the cafeterias should be to increase the price of junk and processed meals as compared to the healthy ones. Besides, college dining services can consider partnerships with community farmers’ markets; this would also support the local economy while providing healthier food options to students. Finally, students themselves should be provided with the opportunity to buy from local farmers.
To sum up, this essay has identified the issue of consuming unhealthy and high calorie food among the students of SLU. It has been found out that unhealthy eating pattern would not only negatively influence their productivity and health while studying at the university but would also impact the later life. Extensive review of existing literature has been conducted in order to distinguish the factors which influence the students to eat unhealthy food, the present trends of fast food consumption in the US and the ways in which the learners’ eating habits can be improved. Many researchers have revealed that eating unhealthy food leads obesity, diabetes and cardiac issues. Moreover, the depression and perceived stress has also been found to be higher in the students who regularly consume high calorie food.
In order to resolve this issue, one can consider several recommendations. Firstly, the SLU needs to raise awareness about the importance of healthy food and disadvantages of consuming unhealthy meals. In this regard, the university should conduct workshops and seminars where the students should be delivered the required information. Secondly, practical measures should be taken such as monitoring and improving the quality of food available at the cafeterias. The campus life and the studying routine have been found to be as major factors which influence the students’ choice of junk food. SLU should therefore encourage the healthy eating habits of students by making the healthy food available at fair price while the price for the junk or processed food should be higher. Moreover, the vending machines installed at the campus should provide the students with healthy food instead of canned. Finally, SLU can also get involved in partnerships with food sellers who could deliver fresh food such as vegetables and fruit salads. In case SLU makes healthy food available, there is a high probability that the students would prefer eating it, which would result in improving their mental and physical health.
The text was written by Verity Thompson, she is a writer at https://exclusive-paper.net/essays/free-speech-examples/gender-discrimination-persuasive-speech-outline.php.