Danielle De Luna
An informal survey at the University of La Verne main campus revealed that 12 out of 20 students try to prioritize healthy eating in their day to day lives, though many said this was a difficult task for a college student.
“I usually try to eat healthy, but it’s kinda hard living on campus,” sophomore psychology major Jessica Quesada said. “They serve some healthy options, but not as much of a variety as the unhealthy options. They have pizza and burgers and other things like that everyday, but not so many appetizing healthy options.”
The Spot offers vegetarian and vegan options to students, on top of an array of buffet style servings of pasta, pizza and salad.
However, even students who commute also find it hard to balance healthy meals at school.
“I like to try to eat healthy, but I usually end up eating that way maybe 40% of the time,” sophomore business administration major Sharon Hernandez said. “I think the options at the Spot are pretty slim, in comparison to the other stuff they have. They’ll have pasta and other things and as far as healthy options it’ll be a bland salad or veggie option.”
As millennials begin to depart from college culture and Generation Z, also known as the iGeneration, starts to fill university campuses, many wonder how this ever-connected, technology savvy group of young adults will develop in comparison to their predecessors.
Statistics suggest that Generation Z’s connectedness makes them more conscious of their dietary choices than previous generations.
The healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss industry was worth $702 billion in 2017, according to the Global Wellness Institute.
The institute also reported a 6.4% growth in the global wellness economy overall – in short, people are investing more money in their health.
However, studies concerning the health status of specifically millennials are scarce.
The most recent batch of statistics regarding their health in relation to obesity rates and disease was the Center of Disease Control’s report “Health, United States, 2008 With Special Feature on the Health of Young Adults” from March 2009.
These statistics suggest that although health consciousness is in the forefront of millennials minds, their actions do not reflect a commitment to the lifestyle, with the percentage of obese 18 to 29 year olds rising from 8% in 1980 to 24% in 2004.
Students say that busy schedules and a lack of motivation are the main factors that prevent them from maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
For some, academic stress leads to binging on conveniently packaged junk food, high in sodium and fat.
For others, the fast pace of college life means skipping meals in attempt to keep up with work, classes and assignments.
“I get home really late and I don’t have time to eat or prepare dinner, I usually only eat breakfast and lunch,” senior history major Caroline Hammond said.
Prioritizing self-care is even more difficult if you lack a positive mindset.
Junior computer science major Kevin Garcia said finding the enthusiasm to take care yourself is hard when your attitude is your biggest obstacle.
“I think it’s mostly laziness,” Garcia said. “I just can’t really motivate myself right now, I’m at a low point. I’d like to do things to be healthier, but I need to get out of this rut.”
Danielle De Luna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.