Some look to anion bracelets, others to botanical resorts: the latest conundrum we face is how to achieve the "healthier lifestyle" everyone wants but few know exactly how to find. Young female collegians are not exceptions, but rather tend to be trend setters as far as this healthy lifestyle movement goes. But, being concerned with health trends is not necessarily the same as being healthier, as a look back at health records of the past shows.
Professor Kwon Bok-kyu (Medicine) says that in the areas of hygiene and nutrition, things have vastly improved since the 1960s. But, he adds our health has deteriorated in other areas. While in the 1960s, infectious diseases like tuberculosis were common, nowadays young women are mainly affected by health problems which are direct results of extreme eating patterns, lack of exercise, and too much fast food. Some of the most common health problems include influenza, gastroenteritis (stomach infection), cystitis (bladder infection), and of course, the infamous constipation.
"There are not many young women with serious health problems /diseases these days, but their physical stamina is weaker than before," says Professor Kwon. An annual evaluation made by the Ewha University Health Service Center (EUHSC) testifies to this statement by showing an increase in the number of students who have sought aid for musculoskeletal disorders, which are usually a result of overworked, or weak muscles (156 in 1990, 116 in 1994, 515 in 1999, and 1,010 in 2004). Another interesting statistic is the steady increase in the number of undergraduates using the health service center's Bed Rest Room (114 in 1990, 126 in 1994, 191 in 1999, and 246 in 2004).
Work-related mental stress has become another issue for the EUHSC. Kim Joo-young of the EUHSC says, "There is definitely more psychological tension among the students these days, and we have noticed an increase in psychosomatic illnesses and emotional distress due to the mounting pressures of school work." With these modern challenges to health, Professor Kwon says the solutions lie, not necessarily in the latest fads, but in simply following a few common sense rules (sidebar).
◈Rules for Healthy Living◈
1. Give up fantasies about being overly skinny, keep to an appropriate weight, and eat diversely.
2. Exercise at least 30 minutes1 hour per day, but avoid extreme sports.
3. Find a way to relieve stress that works for you (listening to music, taking a walk, etc.).
4. Check your teeth for cavities frequently and visit your dentist regularly.
5. Be careful to practice safe sex.
6. Make using safety belts a habit.
7. Find a doctor you can consult with on health issues on a regular basis.