UNH Reaches New Milestone in Its Commitment to Provide Healthier Choices on Campus


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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

DURHAM, N.H. – One of the first schools to sign on to the Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) Healthier Campus Initiative, the University of New Hampshire has completed the three-year commitment to make its campus healthier by adopting guidelines around good nutrition as well as physical activity and programming. The commitment is a national effort to ensure college students have access to healthier environments during a time of profound change when new habits are formed and can be life lasting.

As part of this commitment UNH provides healthier food and beverage options in its dining venues, creates opportunities for physical activity and offers wellness programming on campus. UNH will launch a lifetime activity course in the spring that builds knowledge for healthy living and emphasizes lifetime physical activity. With 14,700 students and approximately 4,050 members of the faculty and staff on campus each year, these changes will have an impact on healthier living now and for generations to come.

“We are committed to providing every member of our community with the information and options they need to make healthy choices,” said Mike Ferrara and Kathy Neils, who co-chair the university’s Healthy UNH initiative. “Participating in the Healthier Campus Initiative was a great step forward in our efforts to improve the overall health and well-being of our community.” Ferrara is dean of UNH’s College of Health and Human Services and Neils is the university’s chief human resources officer. It was a campus-wide effort to meet the PHA standards, including campus recreation, health and wellness, and dining services among others.

Overweight and obesity rates increase by more than 15 percent for first-year college students. According to a study published in 2014 in the journal Preventive Medicine, 95 percent fail to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and more than 60 percent report not getting enough physical activity.

UNH committed to implementing 29 guidelines around food and nutrition, physical activity and programming including making free water available in all dining and educational/physical activity facilities, limiting fried food, offering a bicycle share/rental program, encouraging the use of public or campus transportation, providing 16 hours of access per day to the rec center, offering an equipment rental program, making certified personal trainers available to students and implementing a mandatory health and wellness module for all first-year and transfer students.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most importantly, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org.

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.