More than half of college students say they are trying to lose weight, while 54 percent admit to exercising two or fewer days a week, according to the American College Health Association's Spring 2013 National College Health Assessment. The University of North Georgia (UNG) seeks to encourage healthy habits in students through a variety of means, including a new nutrition initiative launched by Dining Services.
|The Dining Hall on the Dahlonega Campus features a sign
that includes nutrition information about menu offerings
Only 6.3 percent of the some 123,000 college students questioned in the national survey eat the recommended five or more servings of vegetables daily, while 65 percent eat two or fewer servings.
UNG's Dining Services, through Aramark's national "Healthy 4 Life" initiative, is providing additional nutritional information to students and other diners. The main dining hall on the Dahlonega Campus features a new kiosk with brochures listing the nutritional information for breakfast, lunch and dinner choices. The kiosk also directs diners to the Aramark website for more healthy tips and a smart phone application provides access to nutritional information about any of the menu offerings in the dining hall or other campus dining facilities.
UNG Dining Gainesville/Oconee recently expanded the delis on those campuses to offer more healthy items such as salads and fresh-cut fruit. Due to customer demand, dining locations on both campuses offer more vegetarian and vegan options. Dining locations at both campuses provide nutrition information on many menu choices and will provide additional information if customers request it.
Sarah Williams, coordinator for UNG's nutrition and training program and health educator for the Department of Student Health Services, offers students a variety of tools to reach and maintain their health. Student Health Services is a free facility for students on the Dahlonega Campus and is funded by the Student Health Services fee.
"Health educators and Student Health Services offer students one-on-one counseling and guidance to achieve their health and fitness goals," Williams said. "Nutrition, exercise programs, weight loss or gain, and even eating disorders are topics health educators are used to dealing with."
According to the American College Health Association, more than half of college students surveyed admitted that they get moderate exercise two or fewer days a week, including 23 percent who don't exercise at all. UNG's Department of Recreational Sports offers various facilities and activities on the Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee campuses, many of which are free for students due to student activity and recreational fees paid with tuition. Personal trainers also are available through recreational sports offices on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses.
On the Dahlonega Campus, Williams coordinates the annual Fitness Challenge for faculty, staff and students.
"The annual Fitness Challenge is a five-week wellness program, and is also a team challenge. Teams of three to five participants can earn points in a variety of ways," Williams said. "Some of these include time spent exercising, attending seminars on various nutrition and exercise topics and getting their blood pressure checked as part of Healthy Heart Month in February."
The Student Counseling offices on the Gainesville and Oconee campuses also provide additional wellness advising and services. Dr. Kel Lee Cutrell coordinates outreach wellness programming on the Gainesville Campus and Barbara Arnold, the associate director and wellness coordinator for the Oconee Campus, also maintains the wellness center on that campus.
For more information about the Aramark campaign visit http://www.aramark.com/PressRoom/PressReleases/Healthy-For-Life-commitment-2013.aspx