##Florida A&M forges ahead with focus on wellness, fitness options

###Florida A&M forges ahead with focus on wellness, fitness options | #MIDDAY

Tallahassee Democrat

Published 6:07 p.m. UTC Jun 17, 2018

Florida A&M University is upping its game on producing a healthier Rattler campus.

University administrators announced they are getting on board with the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Healthier Campus Initiative, joining nearly 70 other colleges or universities nationwide in establishing a culture of promoting wellness, exercise and provide healthier food options on campus.

The plan runs the gamut from providing free water, designating walking routes, healthier options in student dining and vending machines to developing a policy supporting breastfeeding for mothers on campus.

“A healthy mind, body and soul are necessary for a productive lifestyle,” said W. Rebecca Brown, FAMU's assistant vice president for finance and administration/business & auxiliary services. “It is our pleasure to help our guests accomplish this.”

More: FAMU to become smoke- and tobacco-free campus in August

During its three-year commitment, FAMU will focus on several areas:

Food and nutrition: Offering at least one wellness meal at breakfast, lunch and dinner; providing healthier choices in vending machines, providing free water in all academic, dining and physical fitness facilities, having registered dietitian nutritionists available to counsel students and offering healthier catering choices.

Wellness programs: Initiating a program and policy that supports breast-feeding on campus; offering non-academic cooking skills classes that focus on incorporating more fruits and vegetables.

Physical activity: Establishing walking routes on campus that are up to two miles; offering a bicycle share/rental program, promoting group-fitness activities; offering free fitness/recreation center orientation during the first semester for all incoming students.

FAMU, which committed to the nationwide movement in May, also announced last week it was becoming a smoke-free, tobacco-free campus, effective August 1.

Partnership for a Healthier America was established in 2010 as part of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign in promoting healthier lifestyles.

It is supported by national corporations and organizations focused on addressing food deserts, improved labeling on products, promoting exercise and healthier eating habits.

Campus outreach is one of its goals.

Other participating universities in Florida include: University of Miami (2014); Florida State University (2015), University of North Florida (2015); Florida International University (2016) and Bethune-Cookman, which also signed on last month.

Historically black colleges or universities nationwide in the program are Cheyney (Pennsylvania), Coppin State, Howard, J.C. Smith, Morehouse School of Medicine, Southern University and Xavier University in New Orleans.

FSU has focused on healthier options throughout its dining services. Those include making sure only healthier food is placed within 5 feet of the register and that all signage and icons at food stations designate healthy options, according to Partnership for a Healthier America’s website.

Free water is available in all dining, recreational and educational settings.

“FAMU’s leadership is an important step forward toward realizing PHA’s goal that all young people grow up free from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with excess weight,” Nancy Roman, president and CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America, said in a release.

Contact senior writer Byron Dobson at bdobson@tallahassee.com or on Twitter @byrondobson.

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