There are many dining options available at ASU, yet many students are somehow at risk of poor health. Young adults have received little to no education on healthy eating, which causes students to make poor health decisions and eventually lead to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
“It is crazy to me that [The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics], and that every university, doesn’t have an eating disorder and addictions class,” says Megan Kniskern, a lecturer in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at ASU.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes a “Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool” based off of the “National Health Education Standards” available, schools can minimize or alter the curriculum. By definition, a standard is not by any means a form of requirement for any entity to abide by.
There have been several studies in the past researching the general public’s knowledge of nutrition and how it relates to heart disease, such as issues with the various types of fats. In more recent years, surveys on health and food show that the knowledge of young adults has led to unhealthy habits.
In addition to learning time management as a young adult to balance college, work and a social life, all of which cause many emotions, young adults are learning to budget. These overwhelming lessons can result in less healthy behaviors.
“I believe there is no awareness. It’s a vicious cycle, neurotransmitters can be depleted from anything,” says Pamela Black, a certified holistic health coach, about the lack of recognition and awareness of the importance of nutrition related to psychological disorders.
Both Black and Kniskern say when the brain is malnourished it cannot function properly, which can lead to various negatively impacts on mental health.
Without health education emphasizing the important role nutrition plays for mental health, it leaves room for health issues to develop and go unrecognized.
There are many eating disorders that people do not know qualify as a psychological disorder. In addition to not being aware of the eating disorder or mental health issue, they also do not know the side effects the issues cause in a nutritional sense.
Emily Dell’Amico, a young adult and Arizona native, used to be a dancer with an eating disorder. “We did not have any health education in school so my mom set me up with a nutritionist when she noticed that things got really bad,” Dell’Amico says about her lack of education on what it is to be considered healthy.
Arizona legislation does not require high school students to take a health education course, which directly leads to the lack of education and awareness.
This advances into the issue of eating disorders, which are onset in young adulthood. Many eating disorders over time result in harming the heart.
The World Heart Federation website says, “The role of diet is crucial in the development and prevention of cardiovascular disease.” With this being the case, health education has neglected to teach about nutrition for a prolonged period of time, since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.