College Students At Risk Of Chronic and Infectious Diseases Due To Poor Dietary Choices

In Education

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia Okanagan emphasizes the need for university students to break away from their reliance on energy drinks and microwavable meals. These habits can have long-term consequences on health.

Poor dietary habits contribute to health problems

The study reveals that poor dietary choices during college can lead to various health problems, such as respiratory illnesses, obesity, and depression, even several years or decades after graduation.

UBCO’s School of Nursing’s Dr Joan Bottorff participated in a multi-site study on university students’ eating habits alongside other international researchers. The project involved nearly 12,000 medical students from 31 universities in China and aimed to investigate the link between eating habits, obesity, and different diseases.

Bottorff explained that most people develop poor eating habits in college, and these behaviours tend to persist for decades. He said that most students take high-calorie meals and sugary drinks and foods, which evidence suggests can lead to obesity. Although these are not the only habits leading to obesity, they are crucial and shouldn’t be ruled out.

The study led by Jinan University School of Medicine’s Dr Shihui Peng sought to establish the correlation between unhealthy eating habits and ailments such as diarrhoea and colds. While the study could not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship, it did provide strong evidence supporting the link between poor eating behaviours, respiratory illnesses, and obesity.

Obese individuals experience severe respiratory outcomes

Recent studies have shown that obese individuals are more likely to experience severe conditions and outcomes when infected with COVID-19. This increased vulnerability includes impaired breathing due to excess weight and compromised inflammatory and immune responses.

Unhealthy eating habits, particularly high-calorie or high-sugar diets, commonly found among students, can contribute to long-term obesity. Anxiety and stress can also lead to overeating, which can cause depression.

According to the researchers, it is important to recognize the risk of obesity among college students since most have unhealthy diets. As a result, they are at risk for chronic diseases and susceptible to infectious diseases.

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