Healthier Campus Initiative
Going off to college signals a time of newfound independence for young adults, who are suddenly able to make all of their own choices. The habits they form during these years – including what they eat and how much physical activity they get – can last a lifetime.
But research shows the choices many are making can hurt them in the long run: 95 percent fail to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and more than 60 percent report not getting enough physical activity, according to a study published in 2014 in the journal Preventive Medicine.
Recognizing this, PHA partners with colleges and universities across the nation to create campus environments that encourage and support greater physical activity and healthier eating habits. Each college or university partner has committed to meeting at least 23 of 41 guidelines within three years. The guidelines were developed by PHA in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading nutrition, physical activity and campus wellness experts.
North Carolina State University was the first to meet all 23 of those guidelines, taking steps that included offering wellness meals three times a day; highlighting healthier options in vending machines; offering group fitness classes and outdoor fitness areas; and opening a food pantry for food-insecure faculty, staff and students.
Some colleges offer programs that reach beyond campus to students’ families. For example, Central New Mexico Community College opened a mobile food pantry for students offering food boxes ample enough to feed a family of four. And Florida International University’s food pantry allows students to take home up to 10 pounds of food once a week.
To date, our Healthier Campus Initiative includes more than 40 diverse colleges and universities across 30 states, including several historically black colleges, as well as those on tribal land. We are proud to say that trough programs like these, PHA and campus partners encourage healthier living now and for generations to come.