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Seminars, events mark Nutrition Month on campus

For most university students, the “M” in March stands for madness, as they scramble to get those last assignments finished and spend many sleepless nights cramming for upcoming exams. However, insomnia and procrastination are not the only unhealthy decisions made by today’s youth.

As students become more independent, they are faced with more difficult choices. Which courses should I pick, whom should I research for my next paper and what should I eat for lunch -- A & W or Subway -- are all decisions facing university students.

The University of Toronto Scarborough’s Department of Physical Education & Athletics and the Health and Wellness Centre have joined forces to teach students how to make a healthy transition into adulthood.

“As educators, it is important for us to educate students on how to make healthy decisions and to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition” said Ranka Cvetkovic, fitness program co-ordinator and event organizer.

Nutrition workshops and informative displays popped up all over the Scarborough campus this March, also known as Nutrition Month. U of T Scarborough kicked off the celebration with a student run event called Nutrition Madness. The event involved students in interactive games and provided information (displays and brochures) on dieting, making sense of food labels, nutrition counselling services on campus, understanding food allergies, discovering Canada’s new food guide and celebrating your natural body type.

The nutrition blitz was followed by a series of interactive workshops addressing various aspects of health. The physical education department organized a seminar discussing the key components of maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner, followed by an interactive program on understanding food labels. Another workshop taught students how to make a healthy transition into vegetarianism. Strong Abs and Lower Back was a smaller event that Cvetkovic referred to as “her baby.” Cvetkovic led the session, teaching students and community members how to do practical and simple exercises that would improve their physical well-being.

The events will come to a close in early April on a more serious note, with a seminar on sexually transmitted diseases.

Elsa Kiosses from the Health and Wellness Centre, who also helped organize and supervise the events, said that having nutrition workshops throughout an entire month is a good way to highlight health issues and raise awareness within the community.

“We need to inform this age group about healthy choices while they’re still in the process of shaping their eating habits,” said Kiosses.

Because of the great feedback from the students, Cvetkovic and Kiosses are committed to continuing to organize nutrition events and workshops next year, making nutrition month an annual event.

Margarita Medynsky is a student in the journalism program offered jointly by the University of Toronto Scarborough and Centennial College.



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