An expedition toward more physical activity, nutrition

3/30/2009 - By: Skyler Dillon

Throughout March, University of Nevada, Reno students have taken advantage of a free physical fitness program sponsored by the campus' Student Health Center. Their efforts in Expedition: Nergy will pay off Wednesday, April 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a final evaluation and celebration at the Joe Crowley Student Union.

The Student Health Center designed the program about a year ago after collecting data identifying a need for more student-wellness programs.

"Our students were getting much less activity compared to college students nationally, and only 6 percent were getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables daily," said Enid Jennings, a health educator affiliated with the center.

To fight those statistics, Expedition: Nergy provides students with nutrition and exercise education over the course of a month at weekly modules where students also participate in optional weigh-ins. Module topics included dining out, the effect of consuming certain beverages, and the addition of fruits and vegetables into a diet.

The program also offers various fitness sessions outside of the modules including hikes, yoga sessions, and dance and martial arts lessons as well as discussions on subjects ranging from the relationship between emotions and eating to vitamins to the food pyramid. At these non-mandatory activities, students receive raffle tickets for weekly prizes.

This semester, 150 students quickly filled Expedition: Nergy to program capacity, and many would-be participants were turned away.

"Because we primarily run the program with wonderful volunteers and limited resources, we have to limit participation to this number," said Jennings. "Interest has been overwhelming."

Students will have another chance to participate in the program this fall, as the Health Center opens another Expedition: Nergy event in October. Requirements are simple: students must be enrolled at the University, receive medical clearance to participate, and be able to attend most module sessions. Officials believe the program's benefits could be substantial.

"This is the first year of the program, and our evaluation shows significant improvement in knowledge and behaviors related to physical activity and nutrition," said Jennings. "It's been a great success."

For more information on the Student Health Center and its programs, visit The Student Health Center website.


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