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Freshman15

Frequently, college students may not select or purchase the most healthful options while at school. With the major shift in environment and academics, students can put the focus of nutritious eating on the back burner. As a result, several college students tend to gain weight.

Many factors can explain why students may not eat healthfully, including a lack of nutrition and diet education, social pressure, taste, and a lack of exposure prior to coming to college. Students may go for the most appealing, accessible, and easy options which can frequently include energy-dense, nutrient-poor, high-sodium, and high-fat products.

Let’s set the scenario: you are an incoming freshman with an unlimited meal plan. Back home you may have been used to eating home-cooked meals or what your parents provided you, but perhaps for the first time in your life you make all of the selections of what you eat every day. As many dining hall operate, you can basically treat each meal as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The choices are endless and calories never cross your mind. Breakfast could be a healthy choice such as fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt with almonds or it could be bacon, sausage, pancakes, eggs, hash browns, and toast. Which would you choose?

If you were any of the new college students around the country (that are not exactly focused on health), you may have chosen the latter. It’s often hard to keep nutrition and portion sizes in mind when there is such a selection in front of you. What students may not realize at the moment is that making these food choices into their usual dietary behaviors can become an unhealthy habit over time. These poor dietary habits can persist through adulthood, affecting their and their family’s health. Not only do poor dietary choices tend to carry over into adulthood when established at a young age, but they can also affect academic performance in college students. Many studies have found this to be true, noting the extreme importance of a healthy balanced diet while in school.
Social marketing and nutrition advertising in the dining halls have become emerging strategies in influencing students’ dietary choices. These tools can be used to increase awareness and motivate students to select healthier food choices. But, beyond these techniques what can we as parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and other adult role models do to encourage these young adults to prevent poor eating habits and weight gain. We all know how difficult it can be to lose the weight once it is gained, so prevention is key.

Talking with your young adult and encouraging some good habits early may lead to healthier choices. Some of these include:

• Encouraging calorie free beverages. Many teens and young adults do not realize the number of calories they are consuming simply from their drinks. Encourage water, unsweetened tea, sugar-free sodas, low-fat dairy, or other calorie-free beverages. This simple change can make a huge difference.

• Talk about ways to increase fruits and vegetables in one’s diet. Snacks can be great ways to incorporate more of these daily. Teens and young adults often tend to love dips. Encourage low fat or low calorie dips with fruits and vegetables as a healthy way to snack. www.choosemyplate.org is a fantastic site that offers a plethora of tips on healthy eating as well as a SuperTracker that can help students plan, analyze, and track their diet and physical activity with personalized goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling!

• Be physically active. This can be easier for young teens and adults on a college campus due to the amount of walking between buildings. Often times the college has a great facility for physical activities to be tried and sustained. Encourage the use of these facilities and ask your teen or young adult about this.

• Finally, talk to your teen or young student about portion sizes. College can be a great social experience and time to try new and different foods. Talk to them enjoying new tastes, but doing so in moderation.

We can all do our part in encouraging healthy behaviors and preventing weight gain. Helping our young adults do that can make a difference in the present and future.

Authors: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic intern/student, Bowling Green State University

Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

Peterson S, Duncan DP, Null DB, Roth SL, Gill L. Positive changes in perceptions and selections of healthful foods by college students after a short-term point-of-selection intervention at a dining hall. Journal of American College Health. 2010;58:425-431.

Wald A, Muennig PA, O’Connell KA, Garber CE. Associations between healthy lifestyle behaviors and academic performance in U.S. undergraduates: A secondary analysis of the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment II. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2014;28:298-305.

www.choosemyplate.org

Photo credit: kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/college/freshman_15.html

 

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Pants getting tight in the waist? Did you know waist circumference is a better gauge of heart disease risk than body mass index (BMI)? When researchers compared people with the same BMI but different waist sizes, they found people with larger waists were more at risk.

Measurements that signal you are at high risk for heart disease are a waist of 35 or more inches for women and 40 or more inches for men. bmi To accurately measure your waist, wrap a measuring tape around your bare abdomen just above your belly button. Exhale and don’t suck in your stomach or pull the tape real tight.

Why is waist size so important? Generally, as your waist size increases so does the visceral fat you have in your body. Visceral fat surrounds your organs and having more increases your risk of heart disease.

Visceral fat produces hormones and other factors which promote inflammation. Inflammation is a key player in the accumulation of cholesterol plaque inside your arteries. More plaque inside your arteries means higher risk of heart disease.

You have probably heard that people who are pear-shaped (carry more weight in their hips and thighs are less at risk for heart disease. Whereas, an apple-shaped (people who carry their weight in the abdominal area are a greater risk.
Why do some people acquire more visceral fat? For some it is genetic, ethnic, and gender related. Mutations in a particular gene can cause your body to produce more visceral fat than people without that gene. Groups of people with a higher propensity for abdominal fat include natives of India and South Asia. Black women and white men also have a tendency to accumulate more visceral fat.

How do you shed visceral fat? Visceral fat is the first fat you lose when losing weight. If you lose 7% of your excess weight, it will help you lower your risk of heart disease. The best way to reduce visceral fat is to eat fewer carbohydrates and be more physically active. To cut back on foods rich in carbohydrates eat less bread, crackers, potatoes, pasta, rice, cakes, cookies, and candy. These foods trigger your body to produce more insulin which signals your body to store fat.

For physical activity, a combination of strength training and aerobic movement is best. dumbbell-pair-299535_1280 Participate in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 150 minutes a week. Brisk walking and strength training are good examples of activity. Exercises like sit-ups or other abdominal exercises are great, but won’t help get rid of your belly.

So, be physically active and cut back on carbohydrates to reduce your visceral fat and your waist measurement. This will help reduce your risk of heart disease, the number one killer of American women and men.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, West Region, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Harvard Medical School, [2015]. Harvard Heart Letter, 25(7) 4.

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After 21 years, I no longer resolve to be a morning exerciser. I have tried and failed numerous times. If others can do it, why can’t I? Simply because I AM NOT, nor ever will be a morning person.  Keeping New Year’s Resolutions realistic can be difficult for many people. We set goals to lose weight, start exercising, train for a marathon, stop smoking, have a cleaner house, pay off debt, spend more time with friends and family, sleep more, eat healthier….the list could go on and on, yet we achieve very few. New Year’s Day is a time to reflect back on our behaviors in the previous year and to take a look at small changes we would like to make. Promising yourself to overhaul your life will just result in frustration, disappointment and hopelessness by the end of January or February during the cold, grey winter months.

How can you prevent “failure” and achieve your goals? Consider these tips:

  • Start small. Aim for progress, not perfection. If you want to increase your exercise, start out with 3 times per week, not every day. Don’t punish yourself by taking goals to the extreme, this is not about deprivation. Saying you will never eat a cookie again is just not realistic!
  • Change one behavior at a time. This is not the time to seek out a total life transformation or overhaul. Choose one behavior to work on. Want to spend more quality time with your family? Agree to spend an hour 3 times a week in a tech-free zone.
  • Talk about it. Open up and share what your goal is. You might find others who want to achieve the same goal. Having others to share your struggles and success with makes achieving that goal easier.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Minor missteps are part of the journey. The most important aspect is to get back on track. We all make mistakes!
  • Have specific, measurable, attainable goals. Set a deadline for yourself. Track your progress so you have a visual indicator of your achievements. review your goals periodically and adjust if necessary.

fireworks-235813_1280

It’s ok if you choose not to have any resolutions surrounding January 1. It’s important to always be working on small goals at all times of the year, which will alleviate some of the stress and pressure.  Incorporating small changes in everyday life is much more manageable. Here’s to 2015-Happy New Year!

 

Writer: Melissa Welker, M.Ed., B.S., Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA , welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewer: Donna Green, MA, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:               www.apa.org

www.webmd.com

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Fall Challenge 2014

Join Ohio State University Extension for a six-week personal wellness challenge. This fall the Live Healthy Live Well challenge for better health will run from September 8-October 19. This is an online challenge designed to help adults get fit by encouraging regular physical activity, healthy eating and wellness tips. This is a free event. Participants will receive e-communications twice weekly sent directly to you from your local OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Professional. This challenge focuses on:

• Organic/natural foods
• Calcium and fiber in your diet
• Superfoods
• Gluten-free and whole grains
• Incorporating fitness into your day
Sign up by following this link to enroll: http://go.osu.edu/Mahoningfall14
Once you register, you will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting the week of September 8, 2014.
We look forward to taking this fall challenge journey together!

Written by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, MA, LD, Ohio State University Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

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water 2What do you, a tree and a hamster have in common?

You all need water! All living things need water to survive whether they get it from a water fountain, a rain cloud or a little bottle attached to the side of a hamster cage!

How many of you think of a nice, cold glass of water when you need to quench your thirst? Whether we are indoors or out – we need to remember to keep our bodies hydrated and water should be the first thing we reach for. Your body is about 60% water and constantly needs to be replenished. Every cell in your body needs water to function properly.

  • Why water? Well, water does a great job in helping to keep our bodies hydrated without adding any sugar, caffeine or other substances
  • How much? You’ve probably heard for years that we all need 8 glasses of water every day – for a total of 64 ounces. Researchers have pointed out that the need for fluid can vary widely among individuals.
  • Does it have to be “plain” water? No, there are many ways to dress up the taste of a glass of water. A fairly common way to flavor the water is to add fruit or vegetable slices – lemons, strawberries, cucumber, etc. You can also add herbs to the water for refreshing drinks. Try a sprig of mint for a refreshing change of taste!
  • Can it help me lose weight? That is a possibility! If you drink a full glass of water before your meal, you may trick your brain into thinking that you are full sooner!       Also, if you substitute water for high calories drinks, you are helping control the number of calories your body is taking in each day.
  • Don’t always rely on your body to tell you that you need some water. When you are hot and sweaty, your thirst mechanism can shut off and you don’t know that you need some fluids. . If our bodies become dehydrated it can lead to physical and mental problems.
  • While water is the best source of fluids for your body, don’t forget that you can count all of the fluids you drink during the day. Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat have high water contents – try watermelon, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and celery.
  • Try to keep track of how much water you drink during a typical day. Aiming for the 8 glasses is not a bad thing – just remember that the amount your body needs will vary with your activity level, your body size and the temperature if you are outside and other factors.

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, Treber.1@osu.edu

 

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/feel-your-best-with-water

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

How Much Water Do You Really Need? Health and Nutrition Newsletter: Tufts University. July 2014. Volume 32, No.5

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mitochondria“M” word #1: Metabolism

Many of us blame our “slow” metabolism when we don’t lose weight as quickly as we would like. But what exactly is metabolism, and why does it vary so much from person to person? Metabolism is a complex network of hormones and enzymes that (1) converts food into fuel, and (2) affects how efficiently you burn that fuel. It is influenced by your age (it goes down about 5% per decade after the age of 40) and your gender (men burn more calories at rest than women). But the three primary factors affecting your metabolic rate include:

1. Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR),
2. The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), and
3. Your Physical Activity Energy Expenditure (PAEE).

The resting metabolic rate (RMR) reflects the number of calories you burn to maintain your body processes when you are at rest (sleeping, watching TV, sitting at your desk); it’s about 65-75% of your total daily calorie expenditure. The thermic effect of food (TEF) reflects how many calories you burn throughout the day digesting food; approximately 5-10%.

The third component of your metabolism, the physical activity energy expenditure (PAEE), is the most varied percent range (15-30%). How much above your RMR can you rise if you become physically active? It depends. People who exercise regularly develop more muscle mass, which increases the number of calories they can burn each day. To illustrate; a pound of muscle uses six calories a day to sustain itself. On the flip side, a pound of fat burns only two calories per day. That difference may not sound like a lot, but over time it really adds up.

So here’s the mathematical formula you need to memorize: RMR (doing nothing) + TEF (digesting food) + PAEE (physical activity) = Your Metabolism. I’m not a math geek, but even I can see that adding physical activity into your daily routine will benefit your weight loss goals by increasing your metabolism.

“M” word #2: Mitochondria

Mitochondria are tiny bean-shaped ‘organelles’ inside your muscle cells. The more exercise you do, the more your mitochondria grow in size and number. In case this didn’t sink in, I’m going to repeat it: the more exercise you do, the more your mitochondria grow in size and number.

The reason this is so important is because mitochondria are like little furnaces that chew up fats and sugars and spew out energy for your muscles to use. And they do it on demand. As you run, cycle, or swim, the mitochondria have to crank out more energy and consume more fat and sugar. At lower levels of intensity, your mitochondria can consume the bulk of their energy needs from fat. But as the intensity of your activity increases, they will begin to use muscle sugar (glycogen) as well.

If you have only a few mitochondria in your muscle cells, there will not be much fat and sugar burning action going on in there. Let’s say you took to heart what I just shared with you at the beginning of this article about your PAEE/metabolism. You decide to start exercising daily. At first, you will probably get tired and/or winded because there aren’t enough mitochondria to keep energy flowing to the muscles. But, (and here’s the awesome part), by the end of your exercise session your muscles will be producing more mitochondria. Eventually your muscle fibers will be stuffed full of mitochondria. Now exercise will get easier. You will be able to exercise longer with less effort.

And here is where all this information leads to weight loss. Your muscles start to burn more fat and sugar all the time – because mitochondria don’t sleep. Your ability to burn calories and lose weight has increased exponentially because you added physical activity to your daily routine. Mm, Mm, Good!

Writer:
Donna Green, Extension, Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by:
Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/make-most-your-metabolism
http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/morning-workout-increases-metabolism-throughout-day
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-for-energy-workouts-that-work
http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/Mitochondria.pdf

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Are you eating wheat products?  Lately, the news has included many stories on how wheat is bad for you causing abdominal fat, triggering diseasewheat and breads, and being linked with Alzheimer’s, headaches, depression and others.

If all that is true why is wheat recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, by nutrition experts and American Heart Association?   Isn’t it a part of the Mediterranean Diet which is highly recommended by nutrition professionals.

Does wheat contribute to abdominal fat or belly fat?  High consumption of refined grains has been associated with greater belly fat in studies.  However, lower belly fat has been associated with the consumption of eating whole grains including whole wheat.  Thus, whole grains including whole wheat do not seem to be the problem.  The problem is our consumption of refined grains.  Cutting out processed foods made with refined wheat (wheat flour, white flour, enriched wheat flour, all-purpose flour) and loaded with sugar and saturated fat will help us all avoid or limit the “wheat belly.”   Limit your consumption of cookies, cakes, pastries, crackers, and white bread.

So what about the other charges on mental effects?  Research has shown that both the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet lower the risk of dementia.  Both diets include consumption of whole grains including whole wheat.  Following those diets showed better cognitive ability in adults ages 65 and up over a period of 11 years.  It is true higher glucose levels from too many carbohydrates is a risk factor for dementia, but cutting out all carbohydrates is not the answer either.  Our brain needs glucose (Carbohydrates break down to glucose in our body.) for energy as it does not store glucose.  Thus, diets low in carbohydrates can hurt our thinking and memory.

Again, it is important to eat whole grains.  Whole grains including whole wheat can provide the glucose needed for our brain.   Whole grains including whole wheat breaks down more slowly than simple carbohydrates like refined grains and sugar.

Whole grains also provide fiber.   Consuming the recommended amount of dietary fiber without whole grains would be very difficult.  Gluten-free diets usually only contain six gram of dietary fiber a day, a lot less than the 25-38 grams recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

Do cwhole-grain-stamphoose a variety of whole grains but including whole wheat, unless you need a gluten-free diet.  When shopping be sure to choose products made with “whole wheat” or “whole-grain wheat.”  You can also look for the 100% Stamp from the Whole Grains Council on foods made with all whole grains.

Note:  If your doctor recommends you follow a gluten-free diet, please continue to follow your doctor’s advice.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Ohio State University Extension, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences

Reviewed by:   Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Tufts University, [2014].  The truth about the war on wheat, Tufts University Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Health & Nutrition Letter, March 2014 Special Supplement, p. 1-4.

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