Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

Eat and play your way to better grades. ‘Tis the time of year for finals, late nights, and everything else stressful! With so many things occupying one’s mind, it is probably getting difficult to worry about health. Monitoring eating habits and stress levels can be vital in maintaining good health throughout these last weeks of the semester.

The Dietary Analysis 9.0 is a free, easy to use program that is now available in the WCU Health Center & Wellness Center (2nd floor, Wayne Hall) for any student to use. This program, which takes about 20-30 minutes to use, is an excellent way to analyze one’s diet. The program begins by creating a personal profile which includes basic information such as age, gender, physical activity, and varied other factors. Once a student enters their diet, often based on a three day food average, a print out can give a detailed analysis of strengths and deficiencies in their diet. In order to get the best results, make sure to track one’s food intake for 1-3 days before coming in to start the program.

You can be your own nutritionist- but you do not have to do it alone. Call the WCU Wellness Center ahead of time (610-436-3276) and we will make sure a trained Peer Educator is available to assist students while they set up a personal profile and begin the program. If after one has completed the Dietary Analysis program one still have questions regarding one’s diet, the Wellness Center can help students set up an appointment with our registered dietitian, Karen K. Fiorenza.

We asked an expert about what the relationship between stress and nutrition can do to your health.

“During finals week and other stressful times, people go for quick energy fixes, i.e. sugary snacks, caffeine, and excessive energy drinks,” Fiorenza said.

Protein based snacks and diets are the best for energy, especially during stressful times. Examples of healthy and appropriate snacks include anything with peanut butter, microwaveable low fat popcorn, low-fat string cheese, fresh fruit or vegetables, nuts, soy chips, or yogurt with Kashi cereal/granola.

WCU students reported that the number one thing that interferes with academics is stress. Many people are not aware of the effects that stress can have on your physical health, in addition to mental and emotional health. A small amount of stress can be good, and will stimulate one’s sympathetic nervous system to prepare the body for a challenging situation. However, consistent periods of stress will end up having negative effects on one’s body, leaving the immune system suppressed and altering the way one function. Frequently, this means less sleep, general anxiety, more colds and flu, headaches, and even a lower libido.

Fortunately, there are many activities that one can do to help. The WCU Student Health and Wellness Center is sponsoring an event, Stress Busters Day, on Tuesday, April 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event is located in Sykes Ballrooms and will feature massage therapists, stress reduction activities, food and more. Stress Busters Day is available for all students and is completely free. Let the Health and Wellness Center help students de-stress before finals week: Come to Stress Busters Day!

The WCU Health and Wellness Center wants to help you stay healthy all year round- especially when one is stressed about finals. If you have questions or would like to receive more information about any of the programs offered, check out our web site at or stop in to the Wellness Center in Wayne Hall room 226.

Jennifer Sherlock and Spencer Wright are peer educators.

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