With thousands of kids starting to pack for their first year at college or preparing to return after the summer break, now is a good time to talk to them about some important health and wellness issues on campus. To help parents figure out what to look for and worry about, School of Thought asked Dr. Drew Pinsky, the best-selling author and TV and radio host who has been dubbed the “surgeon general of youth culture” by the New York Times. On his college radar: prescription drugs, hook-up culture and processed food. As a practicing physician and the father of triplets, Dr. Drew isn’t fielding abstract questions — his own kids are starting university this fall.
College isn’t always a bastion of healthy living. Late nights, pizza and stress can’t be good for you. What should parents talk to their children about when they leave for college?
Start with the easy stuff — safety. In the [college] age group, accidents are a major cause of morbidity, and alcohol is often involved in some fashion. Remind students that they’re on their own and are not invincible.
I’ve been to hundreds of colleges all over the country, and almost every one has an outstanding health and mental-health service. Tell them to take advantage of the screenings, services and mental-health services that are there if they need them.