Healthy living, Penguin-style

Human ecology students in the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services will be selling cookbooks to promote more healthful eating and to raise funds for the college.

Titled “Food and Nutrition Students’ Cookbook 2012-2013,” the culinary tome contains 80 recipes covering a broad range of meal preferences, including vegetarian and gluten free. Following each entry is a nutritional breakdown of the dish.

In addition, the recipe guide includes personal contributions and dietary anecdotes from faculty members, such as a vegetarian dish from Youngstown State University President Cynthia Anderson.

Anderson’s recipe is for “crunch bars” that she and her family would enjoy during her childhood.

“My mom and I made these crunch bars together, oftentimes in large quantity, so that we could donate them to bake sales,” she said. “We would taste every batch, laugh about it and be very full after we were finished baking.”

The human ecology department’s efforts come on the heels of refocused effort to combat obesity and other poor eating habits in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, one-third of American adults are obese, and the effects of being overweight — stroke, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes — cost the nation around $147 billion in 2008.

Zara Rowlands, an associate professor of human ecology, said healthful eating is important at all stages of life.

“Higher intake of some foods, nutrients like saturated fat and simple sugars can create problems like obesity, high blood pressure or cancer, while adequate intake of others, like vitamins and minerals, can protect the body from conditions like osteoporosis, anemia and loss of eyesight,” Rowlands said.

She said the scientific evidence available suggests that the consequences of obesity are increasingly being passed on as a genetic trait.

“Family choices to be sedentary, develop poor food preferences and eat excessive portions are the choices that express this genetic predisposition,” Rowlands said.

The cookbook is available through the department of human ecology. Ordering information will be made available in a forthcoming YSU announcement. Orders will be collected through Nov. 16, and all books will be printed and delivered by Dec. 1. Checks can be made out to “Students in Dietetics.”