Southern promotes health and fitness campus-wide


NEW HAVEN– For students who plan to make health and fitness part of their New Years resolution, Brigitte Stiles of the Granoff Health Center said students have on-campus resources for nutrition and other needs.

In addition to these efforts, Stiles, nurse practitioner, said the health center has an opportunity to make a difference with a student each time a staff member meets with them.

“Every encounter with a student is a teaching moment,” said Stiles. “Whether it is on sexual responsibility, safer sex practices, healthy eating, getting enough rest, exercise—all of those great things you’re supposed to do.”

According to Stiles, the health center participates in tabling events around campus, keeping their office up-to-date with health literature and pamphlets.

Stiles said she would recommend that students keep track of their eating and sleeping habits before requesting assistance from the health center.

“Students should keep a food diary for a week or two and then schedule an appointment to evaluate it,” said Stiles. “Sleep habits can be impacted by factors such as whether or not a student exercises or consumes caffeine too close to bedtime.”

Stiles said it takes effort to find healthy eating options on campus. Juan Dominguez, general manager of Chartwells at Conn. Hall, said he tries to balance dietary needs with student desires, which aren’t always the healthiest options.

“Not everyone is into health and fitness because everyone has different tastes,” said Dominguez. “The options are equal to student demands.”

Dominguez said surveys initiated menu changes in the fall 2014, and the most popular options included chicken wings, mac and cheese and grilled-cheese. However, he said that healthy options are still a priority because, “it is always important to have an alternative.”

“A year ago, we removed salt and pepper shakers from tables and found that students did not want to get up to get them,” said Dominguez. “When you take the temptation away, they are less likely to use it.”

In the report by the Center for Disease Control, excess sodium intake can lead to hypertension, the primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.

According to William Lunn, assistant professor in exercise science, exercise can be used as medicine to treat many metabolic conditions.

“The root cause of conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high lipids, or high cholesterol is often inactivity,” Lunn said. “Exercise can be prescribed to alleviate these conditions. It can lessen hypertension and effectively treat diabetes.”

Lunn said the exercise science department advertises how they can prepare students to be health and fitness professionals.

“We have a table at the majors expo where we show students what our program offers,” Lunn said. “We want to show students what they can do with the degree.”

Lunn said interest and curiosity are often the beginning for students who don’t initially engage in health, and the exercise science department gives students the tools to be experts.

 

Fitness and diet often top the list of interests at the start of every new year. Journalism students in the fall News Writing course, with Professor Cindy Simoneau, reviewed current and future access to fitness activities, healthy eating and counseling services.

Students who prepared the project are: Hannah Spreckley, project editor; Kathryn Burton, Meghan Cole, Trevon Freeman, Emili Lanno, Xavier Lassiter, Alex Roberts, Jared Silberkleit, Derek Torrellas and Monica Zielinski.

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