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The following editorial appeared recently in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Just in time for the millions of young people who have returned to college comes a study in The Journal of Nutrition that warns of the health risks of that fast and cheap campus favorite - ramen noodles.
A two-year survey of 10,711 South Koreans showed that eating two or more servings of ramen noodles a week can result in an increase in heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Next thing you know, they'll be telling students that large quantities of pizza and beer aren't good for them either.
No one needed a medical study to demonstrate that a package of processed ramen noodles is not a healthy food choice. All you have to do is read the nutrition label on the side to see that it contains a large dose of sodium.
If anything, the ramen noodles report should sensitize college students and their parents about the general need to maintain a sensible diet while away from home.
Two years ago an Auburn University study reported that researchers tracked 131 students through four years of college and learned that 70 percent of them had gained weight by graduation. The average gain was 12 pounds; the maximum was 37. So much for the "Freshman 15" - college weight gain hits more than freshmen and can add more than 15 pounds.
The study by the Alabama university also said that the percentage of students who were overweight rose from 18 percent to 31 percent. But not all those pounds came from salty noodles.
College students gain weight not just because they're no longer eating from their parents' refrigerator but because they keep irregular hours (for studying, of course), rely on quick snacks too often, are tempted by fatty cafeteria foods and get insufficient exercise.
With a new school year underway, let's hope that America's collegians take this as food for thought: Weight watching is not just for freshmen, but for life.