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Scholarship Winner Announced!!!

Aug 19th, 2013

Greg Martino

Greg Martino

 

A hearty congratulations to Greg Martino of Walworth New York for winning our 2013 Vista Health Solutions Scholarship! Greg is a high school athlete who has struggled with multiple food intolerances, which he chronicled in his essay. We sat down and had a talk with Greg about his background and plans for the future.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am from Walworth, NY, a suburb just outside of Rochester. I attended Wayne Central High School, and graduated 4th in my class of 207. I was a member of National Honor Society and a three sport athlete as well. I am attending Hartwick College, and although I am entering undecided, I am leaning towards majoring in a physical science, possibly physics or chemistry.

2. So how do you plan to stay healthy during your freshman year of college?

Many people have heard about the infamous “Freshman 15”, however, I am not too worried about it, For starters, Hartwick College is actually ON a hill, and as a result, has dozens of flights of stairs that are required to get from building to building. I’m sure that having all that exercise will help me stay healthy. I also will be playing football for the Hawks, so I definitely will be active from an athletic standpoint .

3. In your essay you mention that you’ve had multiple food intolerances all of your life, could you tell us a little bit more about that?

I do have several food intolerances, the most problematic is my intolerance of corn and corn products. This is an issue because corn can have many different names. Corn syrup, dextrose and modified food starch are all common ingredients in popular foods such as PopTarts, chips and even bread, so although my options are always limited, usually I can find an alternative brand or product that I can have. I also have an intolerance to oranges, red apples and grapes, among other things. In the case of fruits, I simply have to avoid them, but most of the time that really isn’t an issue. My intolerances are unique in the fact that I won’t die or even have any noticeable symptoms if I eat these items. However, I can sometimes get red in the face, feel sick to my stomach, and my behavior can become, we’ll say, overly assertive (but not violent).

4. You also mention playing sports in high school, which sports did you play? Do you plan to keep playing in college?

In high school I played football, basketball and baseball for all 4 years. And while I was always busy, I certainly enjoyed competing and being around teammates all the time. As I mentioned, I will be continuing my football career in college, and plan to play Quarterback. I actually am doing this interview while I have downtime at my college football training camp!

5. What do you think is the biggest health issue in America today, and what do you see as a solution?

I think far and away America’s biggest issue is the rising rates of obesity and diabetes. I completed a project in high school about the effects of eating corn syrup, and since the introduction of High Fructose Corn Syrup in 1970, the obesity percentage in America has risen from 12-15% to nearly 35%. Of course, people will say that is coincidence and has more to do with increased fast food chains and bigger portion sizes, but facts are facts, and I truly believe that just by eliminating a useless sweetener like corn syrup, America can begin to reverse these trends.

6. What are your plans for the future?

As I look towards the future, my plans are to graduate college in hopefully under 4 years and to have a stable job secured before I graduate. Since I am entering undecided, I still don’t know where my education will take me, but I certainly want to make sure I do something that I love, because nothing is worse than dreading something you have to do everyday. Hopefully my experiences and research of corn products can help move the American diet in the right direction, because changing what you eat is one of the simplest changes to make.

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