Penn State Wants You to Call Mom

Penn State researchers have found that college students who maintain regular communication with their parents often maintain overall healthier lifestyles.

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, was conducted by the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development located within Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development.

According to the study, only around 33% of college students consume a diet that aligns with nutritional recommendations. After surveying 746 first-year college students from across the country, researchers found that those who spoke with their parents for 30 minutes or more a day were 14% more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and 50% more likely to devote 30 minutes or more to physical activity on that same day.

“College students’ physical activity levels decline from the first semester to their seventh semester,” said research associate Meg Small in an article for Penn State News. “Our research suggests that parents may play an important role in influencing their adolescents to establish behavioral patterns that improve their long-term health and chronic-disease risk.”

While researchers did not question participants on the content of conversations held with their parents, they believe the positive influence of speaking with someone who cares about their health served as a motivator to inspire better eating and physical habits.

Findings from the study are published in the current issue of  the Journal of Adolescent Health.

So when mom says to give her a call when you get done classes, do it. Perhaps it will inspire you to close Facebook, skip Nacho Night, and make good use of that $103 gym membership. Maybe.

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Ali Fogarty

Ali Fogarty is a senior from the suburbs of Philadelphia majoring in Public Relations and Political Science who's passionate about Netflix and everything bagels.

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