Asthma, and diabetes, and arthritis! Oh my!
With large meal plans and an all-you-can-eat buffet on campus, the “Freshman 15” doesn’t come as a surprise. However, a new club on campus is working to educate students about the food choices they make at school and how these choices can affect their long-term health.
Founded during the fall 2013 semester, the Food and Nutrition Club became a part of more than 300 student organizations at Grand Valley State University.
“Nutrition is something that anyone can be interested in,” said Sarah Craven, the club’s president. “Eating well and nourishing your body is a lifestyle more than anything. Nutrition Club is a place for health-minded people to learn, socialize and of course eat.”
The organization is working to educate the campus and surrounding communities about the negative outcomes that poor food choices can bring, whether they are social, environmental, economic or physical.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity can lead to sleep apnea and snoring, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, infertility in women and several types of cancer, among other things.
“We are working to supply students with information on how to possibly live healthier lifestyles,” said Kali Sanford, the club’s secretary. “College is one of our first experiences away from home and parents, which means we have to make decisions on our own about everything, including what we are eating. It is important to at least supply people with information so that they can make informed decisions.”
The organization also serves as a place for people with an interest in nutrition to gather and exchange ideas.
“The nutrition club encourages healthy eating in a college environment, offering support and community to those who care about the food they put in their bodies,” said Kristen Grider, treasurer of the club. “We hope to gather a larger membership and host many more events that promote healthy eating at GVSU while collaborating with other groups in the community to further awareness of nutrition-related health.”
The group currently has about 15 members and holds weekly meetings on Thursdays. Anyone is welcome to join throughout the semester regardless of major, eating habits or specific knowledge of food.
At each meeting, the group chooses a topic relating to nutrition to discuss, and occasionally it will bring in guest speakers.
The group also organizes volunteer opportunities so members can use their interest in food to give back to the community. The club has volunteered at Kid’s Food Basket in Grand Rapids and hosted VegOut with the Humane Society of GVSU.
This semester, the club is hoping to add two dinner and movie nights, where members will cook nutritional meals and watch a food-related documentary. The group is also planning guided grocery store trips for students and faculty at the Meijer in Standale.