Injecting Health Awareness into Sogang
Injecting Health Awareness into Sogang
  • Yoo Dong-yeon Reporter
  • 승인 2008.06.26 14:32
  • 댓글 7
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   People in their twenties are at their healthiest. This idea prevails, and examples are easily found around us. The name of the toothpaste, ?080?means keeping users?teeth as healthy when they are twenty as they are at eighty. The name assumes that one? twenties are the healthiest age. In addition, we can find another example in the insurance system. The insurance value varies with age, and it is cheapest in people? twenties. According to AIG, an insurance company, the insurance value of people in their twenties is about 20,000 won, but the insurance value of people in their thirties is about 30,000 won.
   Similar to general opinions about health in youth, people in their twenties think themselves healthy. According to the survey, conducted from May 11th to 14th, most Sogangers also have confidence in their health, as we can see in question 2.
   So is there a problem with over-confidence? ? cannot be certain of my health and the health of people in their twenties,?said an anonymous Soganger. ?y friend, one of my high school schoolmates, died of cancer last year. Because he looked good and he was young, no one doubted he had cancer before knowing the diagnosis from the hospital. Even he did not expect the seriousness of his disease.?Although more than half of the students surveyed answered that they had experienced a health problem in question 1, most of them responded that they are healthy in question 2. Is it true that they are really healthy, or does general opinion in our society make us too assure of our health?
▲For meals, they usually choose harmful foods, such as ready made or junk food.
Not as healthy as you may think

   It seems that most students keep a relatively regular life, as we can see in the answers to questions 3, 4, and 5. ? am not a smoker anymore and am trying to avoid heavy drinking in one session,?said Min Woong-hee (07, Dept. of Economics). It seems that smoking is less popular now among people in their twenties. ?he number of smokers has been reducing continually. A couple of years ago, there were many smokers in campus, but recently students tend to give up smoking or try not to smoke at all,?said a member of the school infirmary. However, is it the same with food? ?hen I was a high school student, I always used to eat a rice meal for breakfast and have three meals a day. However, because I have been separated from my family for years, I cannot help eating meals in any form, such as toast or substitute foods for busy people,?Min continued.
   So, is it accurate to say that there are no health problems with people in their twenties? Although many students are keeping a relatively regular life, it is important not to be over-confident when we say that students live healthily. It means that we should not draw the hasty conclusion that students live healthy lives. ?he problem is not the number of times that students drink in a week, but how much they drink at a time. They usually drink too much at one time, and suffer from the hangover of the previous night? drink. Not whether they eat a meal or not, but what they eat for a meal. For meals, they usually choose harmful foods, such as ready made or junk food,?the member of school infirmary adds. Although students do not drink every day and dine out luxuriously, actually they live unhealthy lives. Because they do not recognize the facts more clearly, this can be worse than more identifiable problems.
   Therefore, people in their twenties may not be as healthy as they think. They are really playing with their health. Here is a shocking example which shows such an atmosphere. A student, who looks healthy, has an examination to know the fat rate of the body. He is 178cm and 69kg, and no one thinks that he is overweight. However, the result of the examination is serious. He has little muscle, but excessive fat. Losing eight kilograms of weight is suggested to him. ?ost people in their twenties might be the same as him. Even though people look slender, they could be overweight,?said a physician of Yonsei University Hospital. In addition, there is a lot of other evidence to prove that their health is not very good. Through results from national health statistics, we can notice that the health of the young is getting worse. According to typical results from a public health care center, the health age of people in their twenties is almost always much older than their real age. For example, a 22 year-old male student, who is 174cm tall, weighs 64kg, takes the test, and he records low values in the areas of endurance of muscles, power of legs, quick power, and agility. Finally his health age is revealed to be 35.
   The importance being healthy in the 20s
   According to the survey results, students of Sogang University tend to think of themselves as being healthy. However, students who live alone did not seem quite sure that they are healthy. Among 64 students who said that they are living alone, 26 said that they think their health is normal, and 16 students even said that they are not healthy. Kim Kyung-jin (06, Dept. of French Culture) said that she skips breakfast very often, and that makes her overeat at lunch or dinner. "I think the situation is more serious in the case of students who live alone. When I visit their rooms, I find they eat and live very irregularly."
   Because the changes in our bodies relate to the changes in our lifespan, the major health problems and the causes of disease also change. Thus, making a health improvement plan and pursuing it are essential. It is an effective way to care for our health. When we make a health improvement plan, the most important thing to consider is the ability to practice it. Then, by analyzing our health, we can detect the elements that may become fatal and find ways to improve the situation.
   As can be seen in the above mentioned results derived from the survey and from the opinions of health experts, the health problems of university students are more serious than people commonly thought, and accordingly the health of university students has become more important than commonly believed. So, what are the ways of caring for our health which Sogang University and Sogangers are able to do?


Fitness facilities at Sogang: problems and solutions
   Insufficient fitness facilities and low usage rate
   As a start, because it is very important to know that sports make people healthier, we should focus on Sogang University? fitness facilities which enable students to exercise on campus.
   First of all, Sogang University has a gymnasium. The gymnasium is capable of seating 3,500 spectators. It contains faculty offices, student club rooms, table tennis rooms, training rooms, racket-ball rooms, team lockers, shower rooms, changing rooms and other facilities that a university gym needs. In addition, there is a basketball court, a playground, a racket court and eight tennis courts at the exterior of the gymnasium.
   How do students feel about such facilities? According to the survey, 39 percent of students replied that they are not satisfied with these facilities. Some of the reasons why many students are dissatisfied are shown in the box above.
It is clear that fitness facilities are not given a pass mark by students.  However, there is another problem: whether the students make full use of those facilities should be continually considered. Surprisingly, 48 percent of students responded that they did not know whether the facilities are adequate, because they have never used those faculties. For this result, which shows indifference to the facilities, it is not only the university which should be blamed for the lack of fitness facilities. The problem caused by students who are not exploiting these facilities should also be considered.
   "Although some are good enough, it seems that many facilities at Sogang University are not as good as in other universities. This is the reason why I have not used them," said Lee Seung-min (07, Dept. of Economics). As he says, some students do not use Sogang University's fitness facilities because of their low quality. However, university staff showed a different point of view. ?lthough the exterior of the gymnasium building seems old, it offers better interior facilities than students usually think,?said Choi Hae-nam (the Director of Sogang University gymnasium).
   He continued, "There are many facilities which students do not know about. We offer a lot of space to sports dong-ari, and we have a wide variety of facilities, like an indoor skiing ground and even an artificial wall for mountaineering practice."
   However, some students still have negative opinions, like "The University does not provide any information to students." An anonymous Soganger voices that kind of dissatisfaction by retorting, "How on earth do I know that there are those fitness facilities in Sogang University without any information about them?"
▶▶▶"The playground is too crowded to play freely!" said Mok Jin-won (07, Dept. of Economics).
   Solutions to the problems
   Clearly, it seems that there needs to be both improvement of facilities and enough information in order to improve the situation. Firstly, as many students showed dissatisfaction with facilities, the university should consider bettering these.
   On this point, Sogang University has a plan to make one more exterior basketball court in the soon to be completed International Dormitory area, and to offer more places for sports dong-ari in the newly completed Emmaus Hall. However, compared with other universities, it seems that the university should make more effort to improve the opportunities for exercise. In addition to these, the university has to improve services, which students really want to enhance. "I hope the university will listen to students?opinions carefully by using some practical method like conducting a survey. Things have to be changed as the students really want them, not as the university wants, don't they?" said Lee.
   Furthermore, problems caused by a low usage rate should be addressed. About this, Director Choi said, "We hope that all Sogang University students can approach the available facilities more easily than now." To achieve that aim, the application form for using sports facilities that students need to complete should be more widely available, and the university has to give more information to students. Once again, the health of university students is more important than we have commonly thought, so Sogang University and Sogangers should collectively take notice by solving some problems concerned with Sogang University's fitness facilities.

Periodical medical checkups
   In addition to improving sports facilities, there is another possible way to improve Sogang University students' health: a periodic medical checkup.
   Noh Jee-hee (08, Ewha Womans University) says, "I think a periodic medical checkup is very important, because university students, especially females, have limited chances of checking their health. Doesn? Sogang University offer a periodical medical checkup to students? I cannot believe that!?As she says, a periodical medical checkup system is an undisputed necessity for all Ewha Womans University students, while Sogangers are not aware of the system. Not only Ewha Womans University has conducted the system, but Sungkyunkwan University and Sookmyung Womans University also has offered a periodical medical checkup for all of their students.
   Why no checkup in Sogang University?
   Sogang University, however, does not have that kind of service. We might ask, "Why not?" We should first ask, "Is a periodical medical checkup for university students important or not?" On this, Kwon Su-jin (staff member of Sookmyung Womans University? medical center) gave an answer: "Checking up one's health state requires a huge amount of money. Therefore, students who do not have enough money cannot afford it, although they know their state of health is very important. For this reason, our periodical medical checkup is available free for all students," said Kwon. Of course, conducting that kind of medical checkup is a great expense to the university. However, it should be assessed carefully in terms of the benefits.
   What should also be considered as related to the cost is the gender ratio of Sogang University. This is because; female university students do not often have the chance to check their medical state, while all male students can check their health through the army? medical check. Naturally, female students find it more difficult to know their health problems than male students. ?he importance of a medical checkup for females is the reason why two women? universities of reputation, Ewha Womans University and Sookmyung Womans University, conduct the periodical medical checkups, while we, a mixed university, have not been trying due to what seems to be a less imminent need,?said Kwon Hyung-soon (Manager of the Office of Student Affairs). However, there are also many female students in Sogang University. According to statistics gathered from the Office for Registration and Records, the gender ratio of Sogang University is 4,760 : 3,194 (male : female), approximately 6 : 4. Thus, it can be said that 3,194 female students should be considered as reason for the medical checkup, as at the two women? universities. 
   The value of a periodical medical checkup
   If possible and affordable, a medical checkup system should be adopted. However, the university frowns upon this scheme because of the significant cost. Manager Kwon said, "Although some universities adopted the periodical medical checkup system, whether we adopt it is purely our choice. Moreover, Sogang University does not have its own hospital, so we have to shoulder great expense to offer a similar medical service to Sungkyunkwan University or Ewha Womans University."
   Not only a lack of facilities, but also the small number of students would make the system expensive. Because Sogang University has no hospital, it is relatively hard to conduct a large-scale medical service. Although Sookmyung Womans University offers the medical checkup, they have to spend a huge amount of money and human resources, because there is no Sookmyung Womans University hospital, either.
   Accordingly, Sogang University offers students insurance to cover accidents through experiments and sports, instead of a medical checkup system. This can be a cheaper way to care for students?health than conducting a periodical medical checkup. "We always welcome students' suggestions for the university. If students complain about why we are not conducting a periodical medical checkup, we will seriously consider it. However, there have been no specific complaints about it yet," said Manager Kwon.
   However, the question of "Is the current situation acceptable??should be raised by students, and their opinions gathered. The S.H. heard one sophomore? point of view after letting him know about what a periodical medical checkup is: ?he insurance system is one of the ways that I can care for my health, I think," said Kim Do-hyeon (07, Dept. of Electronic Engineering). "However... a periodical medical checkup? I have never heard about it before you told me. I think that can be a good way of caring for students' health," Kim continued.
   These comments suggest that, students will realize the importance of a periodical medical checkup if they know what it is. Therefore, the system should be considered seriously. The university can conduct a survey to students, and then the benefits and costs of the system should be analyzed, and compared with other universities. Prior to that, students should also think about the merits and demerits of the adoption of the system.
   Every single Soganger should be healthy
   Health is an emotive word, and, as the above has shown, its practical importance should be strengthened. The value and meaning of the word are still more important for university students. Given that health should not be disregarded, students should be aware of future health problems that might be caused by unhealthy behavior of the present time. Moreover, Sogang University and Sogangers should also strive for a healthy life by considering some changes in the system, attitudes and facilities. From now, students, let's say: Sogangers, be healthy!
By Lee Hyun-pyo (Editor of The S.H.)
Kim Da-hee (Reporter of The S.H.)
Wee Dae-yoon (Reporter of The S.H.)

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