Top College Health Issues

College students face a variety of potential health issues
College can have a negative effect on health

Many students find starting college has a negative effect on their health. Between socializing and keeping up with classes online they become too busy to eat right or sleep well. College students face new levels of stress about tests and project deadlines.

 In addition, contagious illnesses spread much faster in the relatively close quarters of college campuses. Students should be aware of the biggest health issues they face, and follow the recommendations below to stay healthy.

 Stress is a primary concern for college students

Stress and anxiety are primary concerns as students become anxious over grades, adjusting to a new life on campus, and making new friends. They may become depressed and even have suicidal thoughts. College campuses' student health offices can advise on how to deal with specific issues, and help students find counseling if necessary. For any stress level, exercise helps to release endorphins, a feel-good hormone and stress-fighter. Even simply taking a 30-minute walk a few times a week will help students relax and bear stress more easily.

Unhealthy Eating

Eating disorders are among the top concerns among students in all college campuses nationwide. Students may resort to eating to cope with high stress, avoid eating to conform to cultural expectations of body image, or may develop disordered eating because of other underlying issues. Dieting often leads to serious eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, which may have long-term health effects on young people's bodies.

Many students simply make poor food choices that lead to unhealthy weight gain. Eating sensibly is the key to preventing eating disorders and keeping healthy. Students shouldn't overindulge on junk food, but eat healthy meals three times a day.

Alcohol Abuse

Excessive drinking (particularly among underage students) remains a great concern as students continue to suffer alcohol poisoning and other issues related to binge drinking. Depression and alcoholism often go hand in hand and may become serious health concerns as young people develop addictions. Excessive drinking may lead to other risky behaviors, such as sexual violence and drunk driving. Students should never drink alcohol in an unsafe environment and avoid drinking to the point of heavy intoxication.


Sexually transmitted diseases may spread fast among students engaging in unsafe sex. In many cases, students become infected from casual encounters at drinking parties. Young people should avoid sex with unfamiliar partners or at least protect themselves by using condoms.

Students get colds, flu, and respiratory infections in the fall that often last until spring as the germs are passed around throughout the student body. During the cold weather season, students are advised to get flu shots. Many campuses offer them free of charge or at a great discount. Simple preventative measures, such as washing hands, taking vitamins, and getting adequate sleep will also help boost immunity and speed recovery.

College life is stressful, no doubt about it. However, these are the best years for young people to learn to be independent and to make responsible decisions. Students can enjoy the college years best by making healthy choices and avoiding health risks that can have long-term effects on their lives.

Author: Marina Salsbury
Image credit: Morguefile