By Vanessa Kyalimpa
Joining university Two years ago, Kongai Elizabeth, a third-year student of accounting and finance at Uganda Christian University (UCU), thought her greatest joy was being able to become an independent young lady who could take care of herself—or so she thought.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong, but neither was she right. At that point in her life, she thought that because she was staying alone and was able to decide what to eat, having roadside fries every day and rolex felt like the most appropriate thing to do.
For 2 weeks straight, she does not recall eating real food or fruits, and this eventually took a toll on her physically but also in her classes.
“I evidently lost a lot of weight; I used to feel very exhausted and burned out throughout the day, and I didn’t see myself doing well in my classes,” said Kongai.
Although this appeared to be Kongai’s problem to solve, a number of university students have been observed to prioritize their convenience over eating well. This is a route that causes many problems.
In the long run, students’ concentration span during lectures is reduced, and they also end up having decreased energy levels throughout their university life, which results in major health conditions in the long run that can be life-threatening.
According to Norah Akaaba, a research assistant at Kawanda Research Institute who. is also a teaching assistant in the UCU Faculty of Agricultural Science, you need to eat food that is enough and rich in nutrients in relation to the daily activities one does.
“If you are going to engage in an energy-draining activity like running among other activities, you must eat a heavy meal because you will burn a lot of food during that engagement,” added Akaaba.
The health and academic performance of students can be negatively impacted by poor eating habits in a number of ways. Malnutrition, weight gain, and a higher chance of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes
For university students, adjusting from living at home to living alone while on campus comes with a lot of challenges and may require more time to get used to that change.
Lack of time, limited access to healthy food options and high food prices prices, a lack of motivation to prepare the food, and most importantly, students’ lack of knowledge on nutrition, all influence students feeding habits.
Akaba urged students to plan their meals, choose healthy foods, and try to seek information and resources on nutrition in order to improve their eating habits.