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Graduate & Professional Students

Are you considering buying a car? - CLG workshop on Purchsing a Pre-owned Car

When my family and I came to Duke, we did not feel the need to own a car. With Duke buses and the regular trips to Target by International House, we felt we had it all covered. But when we started expanding our horizons and wanted to explore things around us, we missed a car. When we made the all-important decision to buy a pre-owned car, there were lots of doubts and questions in our minds. If you are going through a similar situation, this Thursday’s workshop on purchasing a pre-owned car would have been perfect for you.

The workshop was hosted by Paige Vinson, IHouse, with valuable inputs from Paul Elliot Cornsweet, an experienced mechanic. It started with an informal discussion on what kind of information the participants were looking for. Then Paige made her presentation that answered the queries that many of the participants had. Some important points discussed were:

* Do I really need a car
* Where do I buy a car
* Can I use unexpired license from home country to drive in NC
* How to get a license
* How much does it cost to own a car

Then we came to the part that many of us may hesitate to do - asking the right (and uncomfortable?) questions to the prospective seller. Paul told us about what to look for in the Carfax report and also emphasized how important it

is to have the car checked by a mechanic. (Anyone remember Barney Fife’s car buying experience in the Andy Griffith show?)

The actual sale or transfer of title can be done in the presence of a notary at the DMV, where you can check for lien on the title. So, the car is yours now but wait, before you drive away remember to register it and get the new license plate.

I know, this seems like a lot of information. But we enjoyed the presentation and scored 100% on the Post quiz. The participants had lots of questions. Paige and Paul’s answers were quite informative and insightful.

Going by the audience feedback, the workshop was “very useful and covered everything”. If you missed the workshop, not to worry! A lot of useful information is available here.

 

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Take Your Nutrition News with a Grain of Salt

In the past few days, news of a recent study praising the health benefits of a low-carb diet has spread like wildfire through headlines and across the Internet.  Good Morning America featured a segment entitled, “Low-Carb May Trump Low-Fat in Diet Wars” and urged listeners to “back away from the bagel” if they were watching their figures.  TIME magazine exclaimed, “If you’re trying to lose weight, fat might be your friend” and was joined in the lipid lauding frenzy by National Public Radio whose online article leads with “Turns out, eating foods with fat…doesn’t make us fat.”  The New York Times, where I and many other students I know turn for breaking news, issued “A Call for a Low-Carb Diet” and it quickly became the most emailed story on the day of its publication.  But before we as readers get too caught up by these attention-grabbing statements, it’s important to investigate what’s really lying beneath the headlines. 

 

To start, I’ll summarize my take-aways after reading the New York Times article on this breaking nutrition news.  The article presented the findings of a study published in the September 2014 volume of the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health – already, this is sounding highly credible with such big names on board.  The study looked at a “racially diverse group of 150 men and women” (yay for generalizability!) who were split into two groups that each received different dietary guidelines.  The low-fat group was instructed to limit their total fat intake to less than 30% of their daily calories as recommended by the federal government guidelines – seems reasonable.  The low-carb/high-fat group upped their fat intake to more than 40% of their daily calories and were told to eat mostly foods like fish, olive oil, nuts, cheese, and red meat.  Both were encouraged to eat veggies and neither group had to watch their calories nor change levels of physical activity.  At the end of a year, the low-carb group lost an average of eight pounds more than the low-fat group, had greater reductions in body fat and greater increases in lean muscle mass, and significantly lowered their heart attack risk.  Seems simple, sign me up!  I can lose weight, build muscle, and have a healthy heart just by eating my eggs and bacon, no exercise or calorie counting required. 

 

Now before you order up that next cheeseburger without its bun, it’s important to step back from the media and critically assess what the research is really telling us.  David L. Katz, a doctor and director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, published an insightful response article to the low-carb craze headlines, bringing to light some crucial caveats of the study that nearly all news articles are glossing over.  First, not all fats or carbohydrates are created equal so it’s inaccurate and counterproductive to talk about diets in such umbrella terms like low-fat or low-carb.  Secondly, it needs to be known that all study participants had BMIs categorizing them as obese, making the results not nearly as generalizable as they have been portrayed.  Lastly, the true diet conditions for the low-carb and low-fat groups in the study have been very poorly communicated to the public.  Comparing the diet guidelines given in the study with the participants’ pre-study diets reveals that the low-fat group only reduced fat intake by 5%, while the low-carb group reduced carbohydrate intake by nearly 75%.  In light of this evidence, it makes sense that the much more restrictive diet would result in greater weight loss. 

 

To conclude, Katz leads us away from the trendy diet fads and recommends eating whole foods in sensible quantities.  He also recommends that we approach health headlines with a more careful eye to see past the sensationalism that can make a good story, but not the best lifestyle advice.  It’s important to be aware that not all of the facts surrounding a research study’s methods and findings make their way into the media’s presentations.  But, that doesn’t mean that we need to write off all health and wellness news as nonsense – if a headline does make your head turn, dig a little deeper, seek out more details from primary sources, and look at what other experts and critical voices in the field have to say.  With a little extra effort, you’ll find the news that’s really worth your attention.      

 

Note of Interest: A few days after this initial media firestorm, the New York Times re-published the article with a new headline, “A Call for a Low-Carb Diet that Embraces Fat.”   

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Student Health Closed on 9/1

The Student Health Center will be closed on Monday, 9/1, in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

We will re-open with normal operating hours on Tuesday, 9/2, at 8:30am.

For after-hours care and nurse advice, please call 919-681-9355.

 
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How to Eat Like a Healthy Devil

Welcome to Duke!

Whether you are a first year student away from home for the first time, or returning as an upperclassman and ready to explore your dining options on West, you might want some tips about how to eat well on campus. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Think of healthy eating as having three components, timing, balance and mindfulness.

1.       Timing. Remember to eat regularly throughout the day; you can’t expect to get through your busy days if you don’t have energy (and food is energy!). A common mistake many students make is skipping meals or going too many hours without eating. If you have the First Year Board plan don’t forget to eat a small meal or snack to keep you going between meals.  

If you are too hungry and faced with an “all you care to eat” meal option at dinner, you are likely to overeat. You might think you are getting your money’s worth, but your body will pay the price.

 

Think you are too busy to stop and eat? There are many options for grab and go meals and snacks on West campus or Trinity Café on East.

If you have time for a sit down meal midday that’s even better.  Check out your options here.

 

2.       Balance. Make sure to include some lean protein, veggies and/or fruit and whole grains at most meals. Balancing Your Plate will keep you on the right track to healthy eating, sustained energy and weight management.

 

3.       Mindfulness. Above all remember to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are comfortably full. Eating too little or too much will keep you thinking about food instead of focused on all the other things you want to do at Duke.

Eat what you like, get enough of it and get on with your day!

 

Have a great year!

 

Additional Resources:

Healthy Eating at Duke- it’s “Devilishly” Easy

Smart Snacking

Duke Student Health Nutrition

For more information on eating well at Duke meet with a Student Health Nutritionist

919-681-9355

 

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