Next Stop: Brooklyn College, Fast Food Avenue
“Why not? It’s cheap, tasty, and I’m used to it,” Brooklyn College Academy student Krystal Nieves laughs, explaining why she eats at McDonalds every day for lunch.
Eating at fast food restaurants is no longer a desire, but a necessity. Young people in the Brooklyn College community are attracted to local fast food restaurants, indulging in large meals for lunch before going back to class. Sadly, they are unaware of how much of a negative impact this has on their lives.
Unlike Krystal, Brooklyn College undergraduate major in Health and Nutrition Loraine Rosentsveye believes that eating out is a “social” thing rather than a routine.
“In high school, you don’t have to pay for classes. Once you’re in college, you have to pay—your budget goes down. College students learn that eating out as a social thing is acceptable only once in a while.”
In fact, after I conducted a poll to compare the choices that high school students make with those of college students, out of 95 high school students surveyed, an astonishing 82% regularly eat at Subway, Burger King, Golden Krust, Checkers, McDonalds, pizzerias, Popeyes, Chinese restaurants, and Quiznos.
The other 18% bring their own bagged lunch or buy from the Boylan Hall café.
Out of 95 college students, 55% favored fast food while the other 45% immediately checked off the “Other” choice, specifying that they bring their own lunch, go to Boylan Hall, or never eat in the area.
Rosentsveye explains that the majority of students develop unhealthy habits because out of the many processes in the human body, dopamine is responsible for regulating movement and the brain’s emotional responses.
“I think it’s basically the taste and knowing that fast food is greasy. When you have sugar too, the brain releases chemicals like dopamine, which makes you feel good, so you naturally want more.”
Therefore, BCA high school students are not going to stop eating the food in McDonalds as long as fast food restaurants continue to inject their foods with addictive chemicals and not stress the importance of reading nutrition labels on their fries and burgers.
“The food in the café is overpriced—I bring my own food… I mean, fast food is convenient, but I think college students understand that they should eat healthier, especially since their schedules and classes are much more demanding than that of high school students,” Rosentsveye concluded.
No one is exempt from the effects of nature vs. nurture. The Brooklyn College community is victim to the “nature” in which it stands. Its high school students congregate at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Campus Road, considering unhealthy eateries lining Flatbush Avenue as if their lives depend on it.
Unless Brooklyn College Academy high school students are allowed or given an opportunity to attend nutrition workshops at Brooklyn College across the street, they will not be informed about making healthy food choices. For as long as young people on Flatbush Avenue believe that they can consume fast food all the time without expecting it to have an effect on their health, this vicious cycle will continue.