GMU Chosen To Join Healthy Campus Initiative

This story was originally posted on Dec. 5  on The Connection.

George Mason was recognized for its commitment to health and wellness.

George Mason University’s wellness efforts recently earned national recognition for the school.

George Mason University’s wellness efforts recently earned national recognition for the school. Photo by Alexis Glenn

Last month, the Partnership for a Healthier America unveiled the pilot program at the American Public Health Association’s annual conference in New Orleans. 
Leaders from The Healthier Campus Initiative praised Mason for its commitment to a health and for agreeing to adopt more guidelines on food and nutrition, physical activity and programming in the next three years.

“We are proud and challenged to continue this energy toward a Healthier Campus Initiative,” said Bill Ehling, executive director of Mason recreation. “I am continually appreciative of the past efforts and results to provide a genuine sense of a healthier community at George Mason University.”

Mason officials point to statistics from The American Public Health Association, which show that during the first year in college, students’ overweight and obesity rates increase by more than 15 percent. Additionally, most college students do not meet dietary and physical activity guidelines. PHA officials say, at the same time, the college years are a time when lifelong habits begin to form because most students are making their own choices about healthy eating and fitness.

“As a Mason alumni,” said Kerry Ross, director of benefits and faculty/ staff well-being, “it gives me great pride to see our community coming together in the areas of wellness and well-being. Mason has demonstrated its commitment to these initiatives for years with opportunities like the annual Health and Fitness Expo, Wellness by Mason, the Well-Being Learning Community, and now our strategic goal of becoming a Well-Being University. We are honored … to take that commitment to a new level as a partner in the Healthier Campus Initiative under the auspices of The Partnership for a Healthier America.”

The Partnership for a Healthier America was created in 2010 in conjunction with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign with a goal of developing strategies to end childhood obesity.

“We know that going to college is a time of change for many students. We also know that means it’s a time when new habits are formed. By creating healthier food and physical activity environments today, campuses and universities are encouraging healthier habits that will carry over into tomorrow,” said the partnership’s CEO Lawrence A. Soler in a statement.