4 Surprising Ways College Students Face Threats to Their Health

College students not only experience mental and emotional changes, but also unexpected challenges and threats to their health. Here, we will take a look at the most surprising threats to the health of college students and ways to handle them.

Weight Gain

Daily exercise and proper nutrition are often the furthest things from college students’ minds. Compounding on the lack of exercise are the buffet-style meals three times a day in the cafeteria.

To counteract this trend, several colleges and universities have begun building recreation centers. Students are able to exercise and practice athletics in these centers, which help them to burn calories, relieve stress, build muscle, and improve their cardiovascular health.


Stress is a health threat that we’ve all experienced, but for a college student, stress can be crippling. They carry the expectations of parents and family members on their shoulders. The stress is especially heavy on students going to college for an advanced degree, such as an MBA program online or a Ph.D.

While it is possible to earn a master’s degree online, the lack of classrooms that an online master’s degree affords does not offset the amount of stress involved.

Some effective ways to deal with stress as a college student are:

  • time management
  • hobbies
  • daily exercise
  • emotional support
  • mandatory leisure time

Though grades are typically the highest priority for students, they shouldn’t sacrifice their health as chronic issues will likely damage their grades anyway.

Exposure to Drugs and Alcohol

College opens an entirely new world to its students. Campus life offers diversity, independence, knowledge, and, unfortunately, drugs. While university security and faculty members enforce state and federal laws regarding alcohol and illicit drugs on campus, students still manage to obtain drugs.

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The most common reasons students begin turning to alcohol and illicit drugs are due to:

  • peer pressure
  • stress
  • course load
  • curiosity

There are support groups, rehabilitation clinics, and counseling services available to students struggling with drug addictions. The best way to prevent a drug addiction is to talk to students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol before they encounter the temptation.


College campuses can hold thousands of students daily. This allows many opportunities for a casual encounter to become a sexual interaction. Unprotected sex can lead to college students contracting STDs. Sexual education, access to birth control, and an explanation of the consequences of unprotected sex are the best ways to prevent the spread of STDs.

While the college years can be seen as the best years of a young adult’s life, these health threats remind us that the college years are not as carefree and magical as we believe.