Kinesiology; Exercise; Medicine; Health; Promotion; Awareness
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College student are often faced with new challenges upon arrival to campus, including making independent decisions about their health and wellness.
As students face new academic and social responsibilities, issues with time management and stress often compromise many students abilities to adopt and maintain health promoting behaviors, including eating well and participating in regular physical activity. The adoption of less health promoting behaviors is associated with increases in rates of illness, increases in weight, adoption of poor sleeping patterns and increasingly poor stress management.
As such, knowledge of the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity/ exercise for optimal health and academic performance is vital for college students. For these reasons, a team of students and faculty has enrolled the University of Rhode Island in the Exercise Is Medicine University on Campus (EIM-OC) initiative. This initiative promotes the importance of physical activity as key in the prevention and management of chronic disease. The URI EIM-OC leadership team consists of two student leaders, a supervisor, a health care professional and a health fitness professional. During the spring 2016 semester, this team brainstormed creative ways to build relationships with members of the campus community including URI Health Services, Campus Recreation and Housing and Residential Life, to establish partnerships and programs to help the entire URI community become healthier through programs of regular physical activity.
To establish a presence on campus the URI EIM-OC team participated in the Spring 2016 health fair where we began to collect emails of those interested and provided informational handouts addressing the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition for lifelong health and wellness. The EIM-OC team also collaborated with URI Campus Recreation, due to similar interests in spreading the Exercise Is Medicine message throughout the campus community, to man health promotion booths in the fitness center and to inform students about proper nutrition and safe and effective approaches to exercise. Additionally, as there is an important role that Resident Advisors (RAs) play in the university community for resident students, a collaboration with Housing and Residential Life is ongoing. RAs often act as role models and resources for their residents, therefore the EIM-OC team has designed a training session and resource manual for RAs pertaining to information on the benefits of regular exercise for stress management, sleep habits, and general health and wellness.