Fitness Level & Food Habits are Strong Indicators of Stress Levels Among College Students


Health & Wellness

Balance in College

Students have grown accustomed to the reiterating idea that working out and eating right are both ways to stay healthy and happy, not only during the four years of college but for a lifetime. However, the constant stress, increased workload, and immense pressure college students face navigating the world of academics, social life, and their first taste of balancing freedom might hinder their ability to get to the gym for a workout or restrict their access to fresh and whole foods necessary to properly fuel their body.

 

 


 

Student’s Habits at a Glance

20%

of students are worried about access to nutritious foods

1/3rd

of students skip critical meals

 

The Impact Food has on Mood

– Multivariable regression analyses indicated that consuming ‘unhealthy’ foods (e.g. sweets, cookies, snacks, fast food) was significantly positively associated with perceived stress and depressive symptoms

– Consuming ‘healthy’ foods (e.g. fresh fruits, salads, cooked vegetables) was significantly negatively associated with perceived stress and depressive symptoms scores [1].

– When students claimed to be more stressed they consumed more alcoholic beverages, reached for unhealthy foods, and consumed more candy, cakes, and soft drinks [2].

 – Situations of high stress push students to make unhealthy choices, however, this is a poor coping mechanism seeing as turning to nutritious food options and increasing cardiovascular exercises would decrease health detriments and overall feelings of anxiety

Benefits of Working Out & Physical Activity

Physical activity and exercising positively affect a range of other mental health outcomes, such as mood, stress, cognitive functioning, and self-worth

Furthermore, involvement in physical activity helps protect against weight gain, prevents possible chronic disease, and provides a mechanism for managing stress in college life [3].

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Increased Mood

Boosted Energy

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Reduced Stress Levels

 

 

In conclusion, it is clear that a student’s health-related choices severely impact their overall well-being while in college. It is critical that while at university, students find a personalized fitness routine that they can upkeep during the rigor of their semesters while also striving to make nutritious food choices that keep their body properly fueled with the right amounts of nutrients, protein, whole foods, and fresh produce.

 


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