Could 25, 2023

A UBC Okanagan researcher warns that poor consuming habits created throughout post-secondary education can contribute to future overall health difficulties, such as obesity, respiratory illness and depression.

Dr. Joan Bottorff, a professor in UBCO’s College of Nursing, is one particular of numerous international researchers to publish a multi-web-site study hunting at the consuming habits of university students. Practically 12,000 healthcare students from 31 universities in China participated in a study that aimed to decide the connection among consuming behavior, obesity and numerous ailments.

The bottom line, says Dr. Bottorf, is that a lot of poor consuming habits start off in college and can continue for decades.


We know that a lot of college students consume higher-calorie meals along with sugary foods and drinks, and there is a lot of proof to show that these varieties of consuming behaviors can lead to obesity. These are not the only habits that lead to obesity, but they are crucial and can’t be ruled out.”


Dr. Joan Bottorff, professor at UBCO’s College of Nursing


A study, published not too long ago in Reports on Preventive Medicine, led by Dr. Shihui Peng of the College of Medicine at China’s Jinan University. Despite the fact that there is nicely-established investigation linking an unhealthy diet regime to a lot of chronic ailments, this study aimed to show the hyperlink among poor consuming habits and infectious ailments, such as the typical cold and diarrhea.

Dr Bottorf notes that due to the nature of the study it was not achievable to show trigger and impact, but the hyperlink among poor consuming habits, obesity and respiratory illness was nicely supported.

“There is been biomedical investigation that also supports this hyperlink among obesity and infectious illness, and not too long ago it is been linked to COVID-19,” she adds. “We know from some current publications connected to COVID-19 that obese persons had a lot more extreme situations and outcomes. Motives provided for this elevated vulnerability include things like impaired breathing due to the stress of excess weight and poorer inflammation and immune responses.”

A standard college student diet regime of higher sugar or higher calorie foods can come to be a lengthy-term issue as these habits can lead to obesity. Dr Bottorf says there is proof to show that tension and anxiousness can trigger overeating, but overeating can also lead to tension and depression.

“The bottom line right here is that we really should not ignore this pattern of danger amongst young persons at university. It is nicely documented that a considerable proportion of students have an unhealthy diet regime,” she adds. “The varieties of meals they consume are linked to obesity. And that can lead to other overall health difficulties not just connected to chronic ailments but also to infectious ailments.”

Whilst Dr. Bottorf says that students really should be taught about wholesome consuming, though at the university, the onus really should be on the college to give wholesome and reasonably priced meals for all students.

“We have to have to assume about the meals atmosphere we give to students.” We have to have to assure that there are wholesome meals selections in our cafeterias and vending machines so that they can consume on the go, but also make wholesome meals selections.”

It is not a issue that goes unnoticed. UBC Student Wellness and Meals Solutions function with each other to address meals security and meals literacy problems and recognize that a lack of reasonably priced meals selections, coupled with the tension of university life, can negatively effect students’ meals selections.

Meals-insecure students have access to a low-barrier meals bank and meal-sharing system. Meanwhile, the UBCO Meals Solutions culinary group prioritizes regional, organic and sustainable components and performs with a registered dietitian to assure a wide wide variety of meals selections for all guests.

Dr. Bottorf agrees that there has been an improvement in the meals selections in cafeterias and notes that a lot of vending machines have redesigned drinks so that healthier foods are at eye level and sugar selections are reduce.

“I know a lot of post-secondary schools are attempting to figure out how we can be much better and attempting to address these problems,” she adds. “It really is wonderful, due to the fact 4 or 5 years ago we weren’t. So I assume we’re on the suitable track, but I assume we’re far from more than.”


University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus

Journal reference:

Peng, S., et al. (2023) Do obesity-connected consuming behaviors influence only chronic ailments? A national study of university students in China. Reports on Preventive Medicine.

By Editor