Something students are famous for is eating cheap and nasty food, which costs nothing and tastes of even less. However, despite the obvious financial benefits, such eating regimes certainly have no nutritional benefits. Without parents around to repeatedly mention the value of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, these healthy foods, soon become something of a novelty in the standard student flat.

The 'student diet', therefore, weakens the strength of our immune systems and makes us more susceptible to catching an illness. Illnesses can spread hard and fast in institutes like a University, where thousands of people pass through every day coming into contact with strangers. And, despite the common stereotype that students have an easy life, the amount of work that a degree course demands means that many students simply don't have the time to be ill.

It can be a very good idea then for any student to get to grips with the local medical services that are free and available to them. At my University in York, we have an on-campus GP, who we are encouraged to sign with as soon as we move into accommodation in the city. This not only comforts you by knowing there is somebody nearby should you fall ill, but it can also reassure your parents, who might not be able to "pop in" with some cough medicine when you catch a bought of "Freshers 'flu".

The NHS also offers online help and guidance with specific enquiries, giving out contact details and directions to the most local and best equipped site that can help you. My flat mate recently contracted a viral infection that affected her throat, an infection that she had never experienced before. Visits to the city's NHS Walk-In Clinic and our on-campus Doctor soon armed her with the necessary medication. At student level, medication seems painfully expensive, so it's always worth picking up a medical expenses form (These are available from your GP - just ask!), which means young people can claim back the costs of their prescribed medication.

Another problem with this stereotypical 'student diet', is that it doesn't always sit kindly with the student lifestyle. Late nights, early mornings and not enough time or energy to do exercise can lead to weight gain - especially if your breakfast is a Kit Kat instead of Weetabix. Nobody wants to go home during the holidays to clothes that no longer fit and comments about you looking "Erm… different."

Motivate yourself to move! Join a club or society like badminton that helps you to progress socially and also helps you keep on top of your fitness. If you haven't the time or money to join one of these, power up the iPod with your motivational songs of choice and create an imaginary running track in the comfort of your own accommodation. Power walks, jogs or runs on this imaginary track will help you burn calories and release hormones that ease your stress levels. If you try to fit a bit more fresh food and movement into your life, then not only will you reduce any chances of illness, but look and feel better too!