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Maintenance key to good health

Sept. 19, 1996

By Michael Giles

Lariat Reporter

As little children, most Baylor students did not have to worry about the occasional runny nose or bruised knee. Parents were always there to either help at a moment's notice whenever their child did not feel well or to give a little reminder to go brush their teeth.

A somewhat harsh reality check may have hit some students upon entering college because Mommy and Daddy are not here to 'fix it' anymore.

Therefore it is up to the students to maintain good health while trying to balance homework and studying with an active social life. An impossible task, some may scoff, but more and more students are coming to the realization of just how important health really is.

Dr. Mark Schwartze, medical director at the Health Center, said many students try to 'burn the candle at both ends,' thinking they can make straight A's and get involved with every group and organization on campus. This way of thinking is not healthy and can lead to some potentially serious medical problems, he said.

Schwartze said that along with some common sense practices like eating right and exercising, students should attempt to get in a daily routine. This should include at least seven to eight hours of sleep at night. Most students, he said, find that extremely difficult, if not very near impossible, because there are just so many distractions.

Jennifer Barnes, a New Braunfels junior, said she averages about six hours of sleep a night, but that it is hardly ever enough. She, along with many others, get caught up in the revolving cycle of having to stay up late to finish homework, and then having to get up early to go to class again, which results in more homework, which leads to another long night, which leads to. . . .

Due to a number of circumstances, some students may get so behind in their school work and work so hard to catch up that they become ill. Schwartze recommended going to talk to the professor before the situation gets too out of hand. Perhaps a compromise can be worked out so the student can catch up at a slower pace, he said.

Schwartze also said every student should sit down to at least one good healthy meal every day. Many students find this difficult as well, especially if they are on the run.

M. Irvin Russell, director of campus dining services, said all of the dining halls, including the one in the Bill Daniel Student Center, offer a wide selection of low-fat items at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

'At Memorial, we have low-fat entrees, salads and desserts,' Russell said. 'At the others, we have many other items like baked chicken and stirfry.'

He said every student can eat healthy at every single meal.

If University students sometimes neglect their sleep or healthy eating habits, many still find some time to exercise. Some choose to work out at the Goebel Building or compete in a game of basketball or tennis. Hundreds of others can be seen walking or jogging the Bear Trail during the day or at night.

'Walking for me is a stress reliever,' Barnes said. 'After I'm done, I feel tired, but in a good way. I'm able to sleep better.'

Schwartze said he recommended doing some form of exercise at least three times a week. He said a variety is fine, but suggested doing some form of aerobic exercise every time.

If students do not feel well, there are several options for them. Many over-the-counter medications provide temporary relief from headaches, sinus problems, stomach aches and many other minor ailments. One could also go to the Health Center and allow a nurse or doctor to examine them to see what the problem is and then prescribe a cure.

The Health Center also sponsors many programs throughout the year that highlight certain health issues. They also provide counseling services for students who might be going through difficult times and need help. There is an open line that students can call from 8 p.m. to midnight to hear taped counseling messages on a wide range of topics, from AIDS to stress. The phone number is 755-2465.

Baylor students can make it through college and lead relatively healthy lives. It is just a matter of setting priorities and following through with them. Mom and Dad can rest easy, knowing that it is very possible for their son or daughter to lead a healthy life away from home.

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