Watching diet now saves a heart later

By Vickie Snow

Right now, most of us are worrying about finishing class projects and passing finals. We’re thinking about where we’ll be financially a few years from now once we’ve graduated and settled into our career niches.

We’re probably indirectly ignoring other important things in our lives—such as our health.

For many of us, it’s nothing new to not take care of ourselves. We’re not constantly counting calories or being choosy about how many grams of fat something has.

We don’t exercise as much as we should. And we don’t dress for cold weather.

It might not seem life-threatening to be a few pounds overweight, lack exercise or consistently eat bad foods. But what’s wrong is many people don’t think about what kind of shape they’ll be in a few years down the road.

Oat bran was the talk of the town last year. Lately cholesterol seems to be popping up more than usual.

An NIU professor starting cholesterol research with DeKalb high school students said,”The problem with kids today is that they don’t care about how things will be when they’re 40.”

He’s right, and maybe it’s because we’re burdened with school responsibilities that we ignore the duty of taking care of our bodies.

Not everyone falls into the category of physical unfitness—the rec center is always packed.

Most of us know excessive amounts of cholesterol block arteries and can cause heart attacks. But do we realize what we can do to avoid the problem or find out if our levels are okay?

There are lots of things that are bad for us, like smoking and drinking, that we do anyhow.

It’s easier, though, to slash a few fatty foods from our diet and exercise a little than it probably is to quit taking drags of a cigarrette.

Good health habits should start when you’re young. A recent study found grade school kids who sit in front of the TV for two hours a day are at an increased risk of having high cholesterol levels.

The more they watch, the higher the risk. Research shows kids who watch too much TV exercise less, are overweight and have bad diets. So you can thank your parents if they didn’t plop you in front of cartoons for hours.

Other findings show hostile teenagers are likely to grow up to be adults with high cholesterol levels.

For college students, it’s too late if we follow these examples. But there’s still hope.

A quick blood test will let you know how high your cholesterol level is. NIU students are lucky to have free use of the health services.

A physician can give you tips to follow. And even if you don’t strictly obey the advice, giving some effort is better than none.

Caring about how healthy you’ll be when you’re older is something we should think about in addition to wondering how happy we’ll be in a career.

The mind is a precious thing to waste, and so is the body. We don’t have to be muscle freaks, daily aerobicizers or intense dieters. A bit more concern with health would do most of us good and save us from future problems.