How Can My Student Stay Healthy?

Poor eating and sleeping habits coupled with stress overload and group living arrangements can wreak havoc on a college student.

He/she may balk at the suggestion of being overly tired and/or cranky. But telltale reddened eyes, slumped shoulders and/or a faltering voice may lead parents to suspect otherwise.

Parents can help their students focus on wellness by encouraging healthy habits.  The key, though, is to listen and respond accordingly rather than to lecture.


Weight gain or loss beyond a few pounds can be indicative of stress, poor eating habits, lack of exercise or other factors. 

One way to encourage better eating habits is to provide your student with a variety of healthy foods.  Chips, desserts, frozen and microwave-ready meals that are high in calories, fat and/or sodium may not be the best choices for students to eat on a regular basis. 

When sending "care packages" from home, try to avoid soda, sweets and sodium.  Instead, focus on favorite foods that are nutritious and tasty.  If you aren't mailing items, good choices are yogurt, cheese, whole grain breads, fruits, carrots, celery and other bite-sized foods suitable for easy snacking.  Vitamins, calcium and other dietary supplements are another consideration for students who may not be getting their recommended daily allowance through eating alone.


Stress and anxiety, an overscheduled agenda with little down time, late night studying and too much caffeine consumption can lead to insomnia for some students.  

Over-the-counter sleeping aids can compound the situation because they can leave a student drowsy the next morning and unable to function.  Better alternatives would be for the student to avoid caffeine after 6 p.m., to not exercise late in the evening and to enjoy 30 minutes of relaxation time prior to going to bed.  In addition, a student might want to learn a few relaxation techniques, visit the Health Center to talk to a nurse, and try to establish a consistent evening routine.


Known to boost energy levels, release tension, prevent illnesses and help persons to sleep better, exercise is an important component of wellness.  Lou Higgins Center, with its new and expanded workout spaces and state-of-the-art training facility, is the perfect place for students to socialize as well as to tone.  With a variety of equipment available, students of all abilities can participate.  However, students with medical concerns and those who are just beginning an exercise regime should seek physician recommendations first.

A casual way to exercise is to walk daily. In addition to walking to classes, students might want to consider walking to nearby Coe Lake, the Berea Library, downtown Berea and other places of interest.   


Share |