How to Get Your College Years Off to a Healthy Start

How to Get Your College Years Off to a Healthy Start

A wellness checklist to help the 20 million new students starting at U.S. colleges this fall is available from Ohio State University experts.

Checklist topics include exercise, healthy eating, stress management, organization, and mental and physical health. The checklist also outlines resources students should pinpoint when they arrive on campus, such as fitness facilities and health and mental wellness services.

"Learning how to independently monitor and prioritize personal wellness needs for the first time can be tricky," said Bernadette Melnyk, chief wellness officer and dean of OSU's College of Nursing.

"Taking these steps early will really place students in a positive position as they begin their college experience," she added in a university news release. "These are transformative years in a person's life, and this checklist will help support the growth and potential of every student from day one."

The checklist advises students to schedule time for healthy eating, at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week, as well as time for stress relief and at least seven hours of sleep a night.

Students should connect with a primary care nurse practitioner or physician and the nearest pharmacy, especially if they have a chronic health condition. The checklist advises them to understand their insurance coverage before getting care.

Mental health should be a priority. The pressures of school and new surroundings can put students at risk for stress, depression and anxiety. To start making friends right away, the checklist advises students to get involved in campus organizations.

Students should seek professional help if they feel so overwhelmed that it interferes with functioning, the checklist recommends.

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