This year I have the great pleasure of teaching at San Jose State University. I am currently teachng 2 beginning weight training courses and I have a fairly wide range of things I can teach. The main part of the course is the workout which comprises approximately 40 of the 50 minutes of the class.
Recently I asked the students to answer 2 questions for me
1. What do you want out of this class?
2. Why are you here?
The answers varied but covered much of the same areas in particular I noticed probably 60 out of the 80 students between the classes answered nutrition. So, I decided to give them a 10 day period to come up with a 3 day food journal. I said that this is not a graded assignment on what and how well you eat but a way to learn awareness and create discussion around nutrition.
I have to admit I was DISGUSTED by what I read for the most part and shocked at just how poorly these students treated their bodies. I was curious to know the why's, what's, how's, who's, etc. of these students choices & habits.
The common things learned
* They have no skills to cook and prepare food
* Those in the dorms have no way to cook or prepare food.
* There are few healthy places to purchase food on or around campus
* The campus dining commons prepares foods which encourage poor eating
* Surrounding the campus is many fast food places
* Students have little money and these fast food places provide cheap alternatives
* There are no healthy cheap alternatives available.
* Students do not choose the salads or 'healthier' alternatives at fast food places
* One reason is they are more expensive
* Students have no idea of how many calories foods contain and what they are comprised of
* They are LAZY
* Those who live at home eat the best or those who have fitness goals
* Even after seeing Super Size Me and/or reading Fast Food Nation they still eat poorly
There are others but these stoodout. What amazes me is with all the information available, with all the talk of health, fitness, obesity, disease, etc. these people are still eating and doing things that are increasing risks of the bad kind. I would say that with 80+ students that this would represent a statistically significant number as a reflection on what is happening in the US today.
What is going to happen to these students in 10, 20, 30 years? How many will be classified as obese? How many will be dependent on the Drug companies to manage their cholestoral, blood pressure, diabetes, etc.? What really needs to be done to change this phenomenon that is going on today? Who is responsible? Can we shift or change the cycle?
I tell you that my goal was to create awareness, to teach them things they did not truly know or understand, to give them something moving forward in life, to scare them in some sense to a better and healthier lifestyle. I have taken this opportunity presented to me and reached out to help these students create a healthier lifestyle where they eat better and maintain some sort of workout program after the class. I really value this position I am in and cherish this opportunity. I do believe there is many of the students who are listening.
So, to all my professional friends I ask you if you have any ideas, websites, books, handouts, etc that I can share. San Jose State has invited me back to teach next semester and I want to bring the best from the best to these students
I challenge you all to be leaders with me on this subject and truly make a difference (PS: I think our clientle load is going to be full for years to come)