Health vi­tal for suc­cess

Junk food is a quick fix for stu­dents

Gatton Star - - NEWS - Meg Bolton [email protected] gat­ton­star.com.au

AN UN­HEALTHY mix­ture of junk food, sug­ary drinks and caf­feine are get­ting stu­dents through exam times but re­search shows it is at the ex­pense of their men­tal health.

Men­tal health or­gan­i­sa­tion Reachout has urged stu­dents to pri­ori­tise their well-be­ing by eat­ing healthily, ex­er­cis­ing and get­ting enough sleep, es­pe­cially around exam time. But a sur­vey of more than 1000 stu­dents aged be­tween 16 and 24 found that 45 per cent of stu­dents’ di­ets were less healthy dur­ing exam time.

Reachout CEO Ash­ley de Silva said while the ap­peal of com­fort foods and drinks was un­der­stand­able, more nu­tri­tious op­tions pro­vided the right fuel for brains and bodies.

“Aus­tralian stu­dents are more stressed than ever at exam time, with the num­ber of young peo­ple seek­ing pro­fes­sional men­tal health and med­i­cal help dou­bling in the last 12 months,” Mr de Silva said.

More than 35 per cent of re­spon­dents re­ported sick­ness in the lead up to ex­ams and 30 per cent re­ported in­creased fam­ily is­sues dur­ing exam time.

Lai­d­ley Dis­trict High School cap­tain Ashur David said exam time could be tough but he pri­ori­tised ex­er­cise, sleep and time with friends to achieve the best re­sults pos­si­ble.

“I used to study in blocks and it wasn’t good and my marks and re­sults saw that,” Ashur said.

“I like to play sport so I will go and kick the ball around a lit­tle bit, see my fam­ily and freshen up be­fore I go back to do study­ing.”

The Year 12 stu­dent is work­ing to­wards ob­tain­ing an OP in hope of be­ing ac­cepted into univer­sity to study crim­i­nol­ogy and be­come part of the po­lice force.

While Ashur ad­mits he some­times re­lied on sug­ary treats and hav­ing the “oc­ca­sional Tim Tam ev­ery ten min­utes”, the 17-year-old was not one of the 36 per cent of stu­dents who reg­u­larly sac­ri­ficed sleep.

“My friends and I have a com­pe­ti­tion to see who got the best sleep,” he said.

Deputy prin­ci­pal Kym Crosby said while exam time was stress­ful for stu­dents, sup­port was al­ways avail­able.

“As a school we pride our­selves that... we go above and be­yond (to sup­port the stu­dents),” Mrs Crosby said.

“We just like to en­cour­age the kids to do the best that they can do and to re­alise it’s the cul­mi­na­tion of 12 years of school­ing... but at the end of it there’s al­ways path­ways for you to get to where you want to go any­way.”

Reachout ad­vised stu­dents to avoid caf­feine, drink wa­ter and try sim­ple food swaps like the ex­change of cake for a piece of fruit.

Par­ents and young peo­ple seek­ing tips, ar­ti­cles and more about exam stress can visit Reachout.com.

PHOTO: MEG BOLTON

HARD WORK: Lai­d­ley Dis­trict High School stu­dents Sarah Fewster and Ashur David are study­ing hard.

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