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Do CU students uphold Boulder stereotype?

There are many stereotypes that CU students face as young residents of Boulder, including their: active lifestyles, eco-friendly attitudes and being liberal-minded. One of the weightiest conventions that they face is maintaining a healthy and active image. Do Boulder and CU students eat up to the standards that outsiders think they uphold? The CUI investigates some impressions on Boulder and whether they are myth or fact.

Myth or Fact? 

 – Boulder is the healthiest city in Colorado

FACT – Fort Collins exceeded Boulder in terms emotional health and physical health, a Gallup Healthways report indicates, but in overall health, Boulder beats them all.

–  A higher education level is not associated with a greater produce intake

MYTH – People who have received a college level education or greater eat more about 1/5 cup more vegetables on a daily basis than those with a high school education or lower, according to a Healthy People study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services.

– Boulder has less obese people on average than any other metro city area in the nation

FACT – Boulder has a 12.1 percent  population of people who are categorized as obese. Coming in at 38.8 percent obese in 2012, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas is one of the most obese metro areas in the nation, according to Live Science. Even with 12.1 percent, though, one in eight people in Boulder are obese.

 There are more obese people than there are overweight people in the nation

FACT – People 20 years and older who are classified as obese are 35.9 percent of the population, compared to the 33.3 percent classified as overweight. Obesity is defined as a body-mass index of over 30 and overweight is defined as between 25 and 29.9. Calculate your BMI here.

DO CU Students follow the “Boulder health” stereotype?

  • “I don’t think I do because the dining choices for healthy [options] are very minimal within the dining halls, and there are too many desserts that just sit there and tease you.” – Mariah Miles, 18 year-old freshman open option major.


  • “I would say that I am healthy. I try to eat well and exercise regularly, but I don’t live up to Boulder’s stereotype because I will always take my car before I consider walking or biking.” – Stephanie Hamrick, 19 year-old freshman environmental design major.


  • “I think I do, growing up my mom would buy organic and gluten free foods, but I love fast food too.” – Shawn Mulroy, 19 year-old freshman environmental studies major.


  • “I try to go to the farmer’s market and run on the creek as much as I can.” – Carly Weinstein, 21 year-old senior sociology major


  • “I am an advocate for eating whole, natural foods – fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds – to get the vitamins, minerals and fats. A healthful diet consists of adequate amount of calories and nutrients, moderation of food consumption, balanced of each food group and a variety of different foods within each food group in order to get all the different essential nutrients and not over-consume of any one. Of course, eat a cookie or dessert once in a while to enjoy the pleasure of eating sweets.” – Donna Louie, CU Boulder Health and Nutrition Professor

Become a healthier person:

  1. Eat nutrient-dense food such as kale and other leafy greens, kidney beans and other legumes, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, whole grains, and nuts.
  2. Clean food because, according to The New York Times, 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and approximately 3,000 deaths are due to food contamination in America every year. It’s important to sanitize properly and store leftovers at accurate temperatures.
  3. Eat healthy fats that are vital for the body and include avocados and olive oil. It’s important to minimize solid fats, such as butter, trans fats and red meats including pork and beef.
  4. Eat less salt by decreasing the amount of sodium you eat on a daily basis, especially from processed, frozen and fast foods.
  5. Eat less sugar simply by swapping that cookie for a crisp apple, it’ll leave you feeling refreshed and energized, instead of filling your body with empty calories.
  6. Eliminate alcohol consumption or at least minimize it. Not only is alcohol terrible for the body, it tends to infringe on a person’s ability to process information – not helpful for studious minds.
  7. Exercise and be physically active for at least 30-60 minutes a day. This can be anything from walking, biking or playing sports.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Haleema Mian at

About Haleema Mian

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