All posts by kdl143

Penn State Student Health Assessment Report- Spring 2014

Are PSU students catching enough Zzzs? Eating their fruits and veggies? Getting enough exercise?

If you’re curious about the answers to those questions and more, look no further than the Spring 2014 Penn State Student Health Assessment Report. This report provides a snapshot of PSU students’ health habits, behaviors, and perceptions based on data collected as part of a national survey organized by the American College Health Association.

The report highlights results of this survey for Penn State. In March 2014, a random sample of 10,500 University Park undergraduate students was contacted by email and invited to complete the online survey. A total of 1,624 students completed surveys, with an overall response rate of 15.5%. When compared to the overall University Park student population, females, White students, and Asian students were over-represented among the survey respondents. As a result, caution should be taken when interpreting these data as they may not accurately reflect the health and health behaviors of the University Park student population as a whole.

Rx Medications: They’re Prescription for a Reason!

As finals approach, it isn’t uncommon to see frazzled-looking students camping out at the library, spending hours at the computer lab, or waiting in long lines for coffee. But what about prescription stimulant abuse? How often do students take these drugs without a prescription, and what should you know about these medications?

Prescription stimulant medications like Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Concerta are drugs used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When used under medical supervision, these medications can benefit people diagnosed with ADHD. Prescription stimulant misuse and abuse occur when people use the medications incorrectly or without a prescription. According to the American College Health Association’s Spring 2014 National College Health Assessment, approximately 8.3% of college students reported using Rx stimulants that weren’t prescribed to them within the last 12 months. That means that the majority of college students don’t use prescription stimulants that aren’t prescribed to them, and for good reason:

  • Prescription stimulants can cause negative side effects like nausea, anxiety, paranoia, and insomnia. That’s why they’re only safe when used under medical supervision.1
  • Prescription stimulant drugs are classified as Schedule II controlled substances (like meth and cocaine) that may lead to psychological or physical dependence.2
  • Possessing prescription drugs that aren’t prescribed to you is against federal and state laws, as well as Penn State policy.
  • Research shows that prescription stimulants have little to no beneficial effect on learning, memory, and cognitive performance in students who haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD.3, 4


  1. MedlinePlus, 2010
  2. US Drug Enforcement Agency
  3. Ilieva, I., Boland, J., & Farah, M.J. (2013). Objective and subjective cognitive enhancing effects of mixed amphetamine salts in healthy people. Neuropharmacology, 64, 496-505.
  4. Smith, M.E. & Farah, M.J. (2011). Are prescription stimulants “smart pills”? The epidemiology and cognitive neuroscience of prescription stimulant use by normal healthy individuals. Psychological Bulletin, 137(5), 717-741.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

One in 5 women and one in 16 men has been sexually assaulted while in college,1 and an estimated 90% of sexual assaults among college students are never reported.2

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) aims to address these serious issues. A national health observance that takes place annually in April, SAAM has served as a rallying call to people and organizations across the US to prevent sexual violence since 2001.

This year’s SAAM theme, “Safer Campuses, Brighter Futures: It’s time to act! Prevent sexual violence.” puts the spotlight on college and universities and encourages college students, faculty, staff, and administrators to become educated about sexual violence and take action to prevent it.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Visit the SAAM website to learn how you can play a role in sexual violence prevention.
  • Use your voice to make an impact. Talk to friends about sexual violence. Write a letter to the editor of the Collegian. Use #SAAM on social media to spread the word.
  • Become familiar with the Penn State Center for Women Students and its services for students who have been impacted by sexual violence, relationship violence, stalking, harassment, and other campus climate issues.
  • Participate in one of the many events UPUA is sponsoring as part of Penn State’s Sexual Violence Awareness Week.


  1. Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, V. S., & Martin, S. L. (2007) The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study (NCJ 221153). Retrieved from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:
  2. Fisher, B. S., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G., (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. Retrieved from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:

Four Reasons to GYT for STDs

Not sure if you should get yourself tested (GYT) for STDs? Here are just a few reasons why it’s a good idea:

  1. STDs are more common than you might think. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about half of all new STDs (that’s 10 million cases per year!) occur in people between the ages of 15-24. If you’ve had vaginal, anal, or oral sex, you could be at risk.
  2. Getting tested can give you peace of mind. While you might feel nervous about getting tested, it’s the only way of knowing your STD status for sure. After all, most people who have an STD don’t experience symptoms. Getting tested means you won’t have to wonder.
  3. If a test does come back positive, you can get treated. The good news is that if caught early, many STDs are curable and all are treatable. Knowing your status and getting treatment can decrease the chance that you’ll spread an STD to others or experience medical complications later on.
  4. It’s the responsible thing to do. Getting tested regularly can protect your health and the health of others. Better yet, having a conversation with your partner about getting tested shows that you care about their well-being. Find tips to get yourself talking

Are you convinced yet? Here’s where to get tested on campus:

University Health Services, Student Health Center, 814-863-0774

  • Appointment-based testing for various STDs
  • Self-testing (walk-in) for chlamydia and gonorrhea

Health Promotion and Wellness, 201 Student Health Center, 814-863-0461

  • Free HIV testing

Get Fit & Win with the Penn State Fitness Challenge

Getting regular physical activity can lead to better gradesimproved physical and mental health, more restful sleep, and now, a chance to win some seriously great prizes.

HealthWorks, a peer education team in University Health Services, is proud to present the 2015 Penn State Fitness Challenge. Whether you’re a regular at the gym or just starting out, any student with a valid PSU fitness membership can participate. The steps are simple:

  1. Pick up a free punch card today while supplies last at White Building, Rec Hall, or IM Building fitness info desks.
  2. Between Monday, March 23rd and Friday, April 17th, work out at least 20 times at White Building, Rec Hall, or IM Building fitness centers or classes. Be sure to present your punch card to receive a punch (limit 1 punch/day).
  3. If you’ve earned at least 20 punches on your card by April 17th, return your card to the White Building, Rec Hall or IM information desks to be entered to win prizes.

Every student who completes the challenge will receive a Healthy Penn State pack and will be entered to win prizes, including:

  • $75 gift certificate to Rapid Transit
  • Prize pack from Appalachian Outdoors
  • Yoga mat, block, and carrying strap from University Health Services
  • Yoga mat + 10 class pass  from Yoga in State College
  • Body composition tests from Fitology
  • Heart rate monitor and watch combo kits from Campus Recreation
  • Trader Joe’s snack pack

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates. The Challenge is co-sponsored by University Health Services and Campus Recreation.

Penn State Fitness Challenge 2015


A Consistent Sleep Schedule may Lead to a Healthier Diet

If you average about 7-9 hours of sleep per night, your sleep habits are probably already in good shape. However, new research says that you might still benefit from fine tuning your sleep schedule.

A study conducted by Penn State researchers and presented at the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle 2015 meeting suggests that the consistency of your sleep schedule, in addition to the average number of hours you sleep per night, may influence eating habits.

The study, which examined teenagers’ sleep and dietary habits, found that participants averaged 7 hours of sleep a night. However, teens with irregular sleeping patterns (for example, getting too little sleep one night and sleeping in the next night), ate more calories and were more likely to snack than teens with regular sleeping patterns.

In fact, participants consumed 210 additional calories (think a small slice of pizza or a candy bar) for every hour of difference in sleep night-to-night. Over time these differences could add up—check out the example sleep schedules below to see how.

Although more research on this topic is sure to come, getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and keeping a consistent sleep-wake schedule seem like good steps toward better habits and health.

sleep schedule comparison

Meatless Monday Recipe: Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers

All of the spice and flavor you look for when thinking Mexican for dinner, but completely vegetarian! Simple, fresh and packed with veggies and protein!


  • 1 bell pepper (red, green, yellow, or orange)
  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 sweet onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 oz pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup corn (fresh or canned)
  • chili envelope (or dash of chili powder, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper)
  • slice of Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tsp plain greek yogurt (optional)
  • hot sauce (optional)


  • baking sheet
  • medium skillet
  • spoon
  • fork


  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F and spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Wash outside of pepper, cut in half and remove seeds.
  3. Chop onion and garlic.
  4. Heat skillet over medium heat; sauté olive oil, onions and garlic for 3 min.
  5. Add beans, tomatoes, corn and spices to skillet.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the bell pepper and cover with cheese.
  7. Bake in oven until cheese melts and pepper begins to brown.
  8. Top with yogurt and hot sauce if desired.

Recipe adapted from

Meatless Monday Recipe: Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 3 1/2 cups), cut into florets
  • 1 cup low sodium cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup low sodium canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)


  • Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the oil, garam masala, curry powder, and turmeric and stir for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, cauliflower, and chickpeas, and stir until the cauliflower and chickpeas are evenly coated with the spices, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, salt and pepper, and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.  Serve with whole grain naan or pita bread, or over a bed of brown rice.

Recipe adapted from

Steroid Abuse Not a Healthy Shortcut to Fitness

steroidLance Armstrong. Marion Jones. A-Rod. Almost everyone has seen headlines exposing famous athletes caught in illegal steroid abuse scandals. While less commonly discussed, steroid abuse is also a concern for the “regular Joes” of the population.

Steroids (full name anabolic androgenic steroids) are substances that mimic testosterone. They are used medically for their ability to stimulate the development of muscle tissue and male sexual characteristics.1 Some individuals abuse these substances, using them not for medical purposes, but to quickly increase muscle mass. Luckily, steroid abuse appears to be relatively uncommon—research estimates that 3-4% of men abuse steroids at some point in their lives. However, the prevalence of steroid abuse is estimated to be higher among regular gym-goers.2

Individuals who use steroids without a prescription and those considering it should be aware of the negative consequences of steroid abuse. The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies steroids as a Schedule III controlled substance; the penalty for possessing steroids without a prescription is a minimum $1,000 fine and maximum of one year in prison for first drug offenses. Additionally, steroid abuse has been linked to many negative health consequences. Short term effects can include acne, baldness, breast development in males, and shrinking of the testicles. Long term effects can include infertility, heart problems, and liver cancer.1

Gains in fitness don’t happen overnight— getting in shape requires patience and dedication. If good old fashioned hard work and sweat alone aren’t cutting it, here are three resources that Penn State University Park offers to help students get fit naturally:

1. Fitness Center Orientations- Learn what the Rec Hall, Intramural, and White Building Fitness Centers have to offer with a free Fitness Center Orientation! Whether you just need a lay-of-the-land or want to learn how to use equipment, fitness center members can sign up for one free session per facility. See a fitness training or desk attendant for details.

2. Personal Training- Stay motivated and reach your fitness goals with a personalized exercise program designed by Campus Recreation’s qualified Personal Trainers. Single sessions, as well as 5 and 10-session packages are available. An initial fitness assessment is included in 5 and 10-session packages. Each session is 60 minutes one-on-one with your personal trainer. You must have a fitness center membership or purchase a day pass in order to use training sessions. Sign up at the Rec Hall, White Building, or IM Fitness Centers. Contact Erin Raupers at with questions.

  • 1 session: $25 (Student), $33 (Faculty/Staff)
  • 5 sessions: $112.50 (Student), $150 (Faculty/Staff)
  • 10 sessions: $200 (Student), $280 (Faculty/Staff)

3. Nutrition Counseling- Healthy eating and exercise go hand-in-hand, and individual nutrition counseling at UHS can help. You’ll meet one-on-one with a registered dietitian who will tailor your diet to meet your personal health needs. Make an appointment on the UHS website or by calling 814-863-0461. Costs vary by insurances.


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2006
  2. Rahnema et al., 2014