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Select Readings – Upper-Intermediate

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  1. Chapter 1: The Youngsters Behind Youtube
    Before You Read
  2. Reading the passage
  3. Understanding the Text
    2 Practices
  4. Building Vocabulary: Understanding Compound Nouns
    1 Practice
  5. Reading Skill: Identifying Main Ideas
    1 Practice
  6. Discussion and Writing
  7. Chapter 2: When to Use Female Nouns
    Before You Read
  8. Reading the passage
  9. Understanding the Text
    2 Practices
  10. Building Vocabulary: Using Female and Gender-Neutral Nouns
    2 Practices
  11. Reading Skill: Supporting Main Ideas
    1 Practice
  12. Discussion and Writing
  13. Chapter 3: Your Negative Attitude Can Hurt Your Career
    Before You Read
  14. Reading the passage
  15. Understanding the Text
    2 Practices
  16. Building Vocabulary: Using Synonyms and Antonyms
    2 Practices
  17. Reading Skill: Scanning for Specific Information
    1 Practice
  18. Discussion and Writing
  19. Chapter 4: The Colorful World of Synesthesia
    Before You Read
  20. Reading the passage
  21. Understanding the Text
    2 Practices
  22. Building Vocabulary: Understanding Verb-Forming Suffixes
    1 Practice
  23. Reading Skill: Making Inferences
    1 Practice
  24. Discussion and Writing
  25. Chapter 5: What Is Creative Thinking?
    Before You Read
  26. Reading the passage
  27. Understanding the Text
    2 Practices
  28. Building Vocabulary: Understanding Figures of Speech
    1 Practice
  29. Reading Skill: Using Context
    1 Practice
  30. Discussion and Writing
  31. Chapter 6: Listen Up
    Before You Read
  32. Reading the passage
  33. Understanding the Text
    3 Practices
  34. Building Vocabulary: Using Adverbs and Intensifiers
    1 Practice
  35. Reading Skill: Recognizing Sentence Transitions
    1 Practice
  36. Discussion and Writing
  37. Chapter 7: Students Won't Give Up Their French Fries
    Before You Read
  38. Reading the passage
  39. Understanding the Text
    2 Practices
  40. Building Vocabulary: Learning Idiomatic Expressions
    1 Practice
  41. Reading Skill: Summarizing
    1 Practice
  42. Discussion and Writing
  43. Chapter 8: Why I Quit the Company
    Before You Read
  44. Reading the passage
  45. Understanding the Text
    3 Practices
  46. Building Vocabulary: Understanding Phrasal Verbs
    1 Practice
  47. Reading Skill: Paraphrasing
  48. Discussion and Writing
  49. Chapter 9: East Meets West on Love's Risky Cyberhighway
    Before You Read
  50. Reading the passage
  51. Understanding the Text
    3 Practices
  52. Building Vocabulary: Using Modifiers
  53. Reading Skill: Identifying Points of View
    1 Practice
  54. Discussion and Writing
  55. Chapter 10: Don't Let Stereotypes Warp Your Judgment
    Before You Read
  56. Reading the passage
  57. Understanding the Text
    2 Practices
  58. Building Vocabulary: Forming Participle Adjectives
    1 Practice
  59. Reading Skill: Recognizing Sources
    1 Practice
  60. Discussion and Writing
  61. Chapter 11: The Art of Reading
    Before You Read
  62. Reading the passage
  63. Understanding the Text
    3 Practices
  64. Building Vocabulary: Learning Word Forms
    1 Practice
  65. Reading Skill: Recognizing Analogies
    1 Practice
  66. Discussion and Writing
  67. Chapter 12: When E.T. Calls
    Before You Read
  68. Reading the passage
  69. Understanding the Text
    3 Practices
  70. Building Vocabulary: Understanding Nouns Derived from Adjectives
    1 Practice
  71. Reading Skill: Recognizing Scenarios
    1 Practice
  72. Discussion and Writing
Lesson 39 of 72
In Progress

Understanding the Text

Rathanak May 27, 2021

On a recent summer night at the local Dairy Queen in Moorhead, Minnesota, Debra Lee-Cadwell, the director of dining services at Concordia College, felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around to find a young man she didn’t recognize holding up an ice-cream cone. 

“He asked me if it was a red, yellow, or green; says Ms. Lee-Cadwell, who realized the young man was a student at Concordia, where she has added color-coded labels to all dining-hall foods to inform students of fat content. Yellow means low fat (less than five grams), green indicates medium fat content (five to 13 grams), and red is for high-fat foods (more than 13 grams). 

“I told him it was a red, but that was OK, as long as it was in moderation; says Ms. Lee-Cadwell, who is a registered dietitian. 

Perhaps it is an attempt to avoid gaining the dreaded “freshman 15”  but students around the country are demanding more information about the foods they’re served in dining halls, and they’re asking for a greater variety of healthy fare, according to college officials. Over the past few years, colleges have responded by hiring more dietitians and nutritionists and going to greater lengths to provide students with information about the caloric and fat content of the food they eat. 

But despite the wealth of information, students don’t appear to be eating any healthier than their predecessors. 

“They may be more health conscious, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re eating healthy; says Robin L. Porter, the president of H. David Porter Associates Inc., an independent food consulting business based in Crofton, Maryland that works with 70 colleges. “They talk the talk, but don’t really walk the walk—french fries outsell apples by thousands and thousands of pounds.”’ 

Some even worry that the feast of information can be harmful by feeding some students’ obsession with food. 

Information and Options 

Several colleges have recently purchased software called NetNutrition from the Ithaca-based company CBord, which allows students to click through the dining-hall menus on their colleges website and learn the preparation method, ingredients, nutrients, and health information for every dish served. 

For example, a student at the University of Southern California using the website one day this month could have chosen among Thai beef salad (144 calories, 4.2 grams of fat), vegetarian sloppy joes (362 calories, 5.1 grams of fat), and Japanese spinach (47 calories, 1.9 grams of fat), or opted for classic American favorites like cheeseburgers (436 calories, 35.8 grams of fat) and pepperoni pizza (241 calories, 18 grams of fat), to name a few dishes. USC has even set up kiosks in one of its dining halls to allow students to check the website with their dinner trays in hand, and other colleges are installing similar kiosks. 

Even at USC, however, pizza is still the most popular item, says Michael P. Gratz, the director of hospitality services. He says burgers and fries are being consumed as much as ever. 

More Variety 

It’s not that students lack food options. The university’s 29 dining halls boast condiment bars with kimchi and four different types of mayonnaise. 

“Ethnic foods and ingredients are also increasingly popular,” says Haddon Reines, vice president of health care and education for the U.S. FoodService Inc., a food distributor based in Columbia, Maryland. “Students have grown up eating a wider array of foods, and it’s no longer uncommon for sushi to be in dining halls.”

Fries and a Coke 

Still, the three items that top U.S. FoodService’s list of most frequently ordered foods are chicken tenders, french fries, and carbonated beverages. 

“Some days I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall” says Ms. Lee-Cadwell of Concordia, which is also setting up electronic kiosks. “The students talk out of both sides of their mouths. They say they want nutrition and variety, but then they gravitate to their familiar favorites—the pizza, the burgers, and the fried chicken strips.” 

Or they take an opposite approach, nutrition experts say, and become so preoccupied with food that they barely eat anything. 

“There definitely seems to be two extremes; says Stephanie Horvath, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “A lot of people eat the burgers and fries…and then there are people who grasp onto what they think is healthy and don’t eat balanced meals.” 

Ms. Horvath recalls that her two roommates freshman year would brag about how “good” they had been on a given day because they ate nothing but a piece of bread. Another friend ate only salads, and “couldn’t figure out why she always had stomach aches and digestive problems,” says Ms. Horvath. 

What Ms. Horvath and many college dietitians and nutritionists observe is part of a national trend. Although it is difficult to say what percentage of college students have eating disorders or struggle with obesity, many college nutritionists say they notice a growing number of students splitting into two camps of unhealthy eaters: overweight fast-food junkies or obsessive dieters, who either binge and purge or nearly starve themselves. 

“It’s sort of like everything else in our country; says Christine D. Economos, an assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts University who specializes in the study of college students’ eating habits. “There’s a public health crisis with obesity, and there’s also more eating disorders, and in both cases the underlying cause is the same in that it’s emotional and started before they set foot on campus.”

Striving for Moderation 

The problems of compulsive overeating and undereating have the same underlying cause, health officials say: They both show an inability to eat in moderation. Consequently, experts like Ronda Bokram, the staff nutritionist at the student health center at Michigan State University, say the availability of nutritional information does little or nothing to influence students’ eating habits. 

The students who should be paying attention to nutritional information are ignoring it, Ms. Bokram says, while the ones that pay attention care too much. 

“I would do anything to get rid of things like kiosks,” says Ms. Bokram. “I have students say they won’t eat foods that have a certain amount of fat grams in them, and that’s just unhealthy. I think giving students that information sends the wrong message. It’s important to teach people to eat without labels.”

Students tend to disagree. Lindsey McAdams, a senior at Meredith College, in Raleigh, N.C., says that she wishes the dining halls at her college provided such information. If it had been available, she adds, it might have helped her make more informed eating decisions her freshman year, when she gained more than 30 pounds. 

And Ms. Horvath, at Chapel Hill, points out that such information is no different from labels on foods in the supermarket. 

“If they’re going to make it mandatory for you to be on meal plan, they have an obligation to tell you what’s in the food they’re serving,” she says. 

Meanwhile, college nutritionists and dietitians will continue to emphasize moderation as a key to healthy eating, both at college and beyond. 

As Nancy Ellson, a nutritionist at William Paterson University, in Wayne, N.J., puts it: “It’s easy to give the students nutritional information, but it’s hard to impart to them the understanding that food is the one thing they have to make peace with in their lives. Unlike other things they may develop addictions to, food is the one thing they can’t give up for the rest of their lives.”

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