Editorial | Are our university diets making us fat?

THE university lifestyle isn’t all that conducive to score a top-of-the-class clean bill of health. 

In fact, new research released this week has revealed just how poorly uni students are eating while living on campus. 

The study by the University of Newcastle found 93 per cent of university students do not eat the necessary serves of fruit and vegetables. It found only 54.5 per cent of the 4,180 university students in the study ate the recommended two serves of fruit per day and 8.4 per cent ate the necessary five serves of vegetables a day.

And it’s no great surprise if my experience is anything to go by.

Uni days mostly centred around meal times in the dining hall, where we’d stock our plates inches-high with carb-laden meals, and race to be first in line to the sweets that we’d stuff our pockets with for snacks later on.

Late night cramming always warranted a trip to the closest vending machine and Maccas runs at 2am weren’t unheard of any day of the week.

Many uni students ignore health warnings because they might think they’re too young to be affected by a poor diet.

For a lot of students living away from home for the first time, they might blame expenses for their bad diet choices. 

It might be cheaper to eat a loaf of bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or live off instant noodles for a week than cook up your daily serve of two-and-five.

But we need to stop making excuses. 

Our uni days are often when we’re at our most impressionable. We’re young, open to new experiences, and, for many, living away from home for the first time. 

The University of Newcastle research, presented at the Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference this week, targeted university students because young adulthood is a key time to cement healthy eating habits, which set them up for a healthy life.

It’s important to establish good eating habits from as young as possible to carry then through to an older age.

Sixty-three per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese. 

Tamworth, the fattest place in the country, it’s time we face up to our fat problem.

It’s a big title we’d like to actively shake off – and lose kilos in the process.


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