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Skinny, Fat, Old, Young: All at Risk for High Cholesterol
September 15, 2013 (Newswise) — To attract customers, restaurant chains have been rolling out budget deals, offering 5 dollar pizzas, 3 dollar meals — even 1 dollar sandwiches. But while these new offerings are light on its customers' wallets, they hit them where it hurts in terms of calories, fat, and sodium content.
Unfortunately, some of most common patrons of these restaurants are college students looking to get the best bang for their buck. In observance of National Cholesterol Education Month, Karin Richards, interim chair of the Department of Kinesiology and program director of health sciences at University of Sciences, addresses important heart-healthy tips to help college students avoid serious health conditions down the road.
"Nobody can eat anything they want and stay heart-healthy because all body types are at risk for high cholesterol," said Richards. "While overweight people are more likely to have high cholesterol, thin people should also have their cholesterol checked regularly because people who don't gain weight easily are less aware of how much fat they actually consume."
1) Check your family tree. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a disorder of high LDL, or bad, cholesterol that is passed down through families, which means it is inherited. Because the condition begins at birth and can cause heart attacks at an early age, it is vital for young adults to be in tune with their families' health backgrounds.
2) Moderation is key. While fried and fast foods do not have to be completely eliminated from diets; they should be consumed sporadically rather than every day.
3) Substitute foods. Because egg yolk boasts high cholesterol, opt for egg whites instead. The same concept can be applied when choosing snacks, go for air popped popcorn over potato chips. There's a healthy alternative to every meal.
4) Get moving. Too many people focus on their diets, and neglect exercise. Aim to "move" for 30 minutes each day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away in a parking lot, or jogging, walking, biking, and rollerblading as means of transportation.
5) Get screened. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the level of bad cholesterol among young adults ranges from 7 percent to 26 percent; however, the screening rate among this age group is less than 50 percent.
Richards said University of the Sciences students are offered free cholesterol and body composition screenings through its Department of Kinesiology. If abnormal results are recorded, students are encouraged to visit their primary care providers for further examination.
"Sometimes it takes eye-opening results for young adults to see that they are not invincible to potentially fatal health conditions, like heart disease. It's never too late to start the transformation to a healthy lifestyle," said Richards.
Richards obtained a Master of Science in sport management from Slippery Rock University, and is currently pursuing her doctorate in health policy at USciences. She is nationally certified as a wellness practitioner and wellness program coordinator by the National Wellness Institute, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and American College of Sports Medicine. For assistance in making arrangements to interview Richards, contact Lauren Whetzel or Brian Kirschner.
University of the Sciences is a private institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the nation's first college of pharmacy. The University has produced leaders in the science and healthcare marketplaces since its founding in 1821. Students in USciences' five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in the lives of people worldwide through such disciplines as pharmacy, biology, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy.
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