Eating habits of university students in need of a healthy change
Eating habits of university students in need of a healthy change
  • Jung Yu-kyung
  • 승인 2019.03.04 16:34
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Youth Atelier came up with "Banal Town," to raise awareness of the value of a good meal. Photo by Jung Yu-kyung.
Having to focus on their studies while dealing with economic difficulties, students are struggling to maintain healthy eating habits.
According to a poll taken by Ewha Voice to determine the eating habits of 80 university students, 69.8 percent of the students answered that they only eat two meals per day, 47.2 percent answered that they have a hard time eating three meals a day because they lack the time, and 20.8 percent answered that they use convenience stores for their meals.
“Because I live alone, I have difficulty eating a proper meal,” said Son Ye-rim, a student of the Department of English Language & Literature. “Eating something healthy like a salad is too expensive and time consuming, so I go to convenience stores for a cheaper but unhealthier choice.”
In order to tackle this problem, Youth Atelier, a cultural planning team consisting of university students, launched its 6th project, “Banal Town.”
Starting at Sinchon Station Star Plaza on Feb. 16, Youth Atelier created a town with various booths to raise awareness concerning the importance of a good meal.
“The first thing university students do when they’re short on money is skip meals,” said Ji Ye-seul, a member of Youth Atelier.
“This weakens not only one’s physical state but also one’s mental faculties. Many do not realize that skipping a meal can result in fatigue and stress.”
Youth Atelier’s aim is to make university students realize their neglect of good meals and provide information to induce voluntary change.
“We realized that we couldn’t offer a direct solution because unhealthy eating habits result from structural problems,” Ji said. “So our main goal is to help students reflect on their eating habits and change their views rather than to pressure students into accepting solutions regarding financial problems and time-management problems.”
Youth Atelier’s booths enabled the participants not only to learn but to maintain healthy life style after participating various booths and events.
“At the end of the event, participants were given a diary to record their daily diet,” said Ko Jeong-wook, another member of Youth Atelier. “In this way, the participants can continue to practice what they have learned that day.”
They also gave advice on how university students can try to eat three proper meals a day.
“Personally, I think many people skip their breakfast because they don’t have time,” Ko said. “I advise them to drink soymilk mixed with powdered-grains since it’s both filling and nutritious.”
Ji added that buying various Korean side dishes would help one to eat a balanced meal while reducing the time to prepare it. “We often feel reassured when we eat a home-made meal,” Ji said. “Buying side dishes would help students eat a nutritious meal and also feel mentally comforted.”
Finally, the two members commented on how eating a proper meal for oneself is another way of self-regard and self-interest.
“In our culture, we greet each other by asking if the other has eaten,” Ji said. “This implies that a meal not only satisfies actual hunger but also serves as a source of warmth. We hope that students will be able to treat themselves to good meals and to take care of their bodies.”

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