June 12, 2018

VSU Earns National Recognition for Supporting Healthy Living

Pictured (from left to right) are Kyle Hopkins, lead exercise physiologist for VSU’s Center for Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation; Sarah Fretti, director of the CEMR Fitness and Wellness Center; and Dr. LaGary Carter, associate dean of the School of Health Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Valdosta State University recently earned national gold level recognition from the Exercise is Medicine on Campus program for the second consecutive year. The award reflects VSU’s ongoing commitment to health and wellness on campus.

“VSU is simply a microcosm of the community at large,” said Dr. LaGary Carter, associate dean of the School of Health Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Employees are not insulated from morbidities such as prediabetes or diabetes, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and abdominal or central obesity. A combination of three or more of these medical issues is called metabolic syndrome, which is highly associated with cardiovascular disease.

“The scientific evidence is clear — Exercise is Medicine. The VSU College of Nursing and Health Sciences, in partnership with Campus Wellness, is uniquely qualified and equipped to educate our campus about the role of physical activity, proper nutrition and other healthy behaviors in the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome, certain cancers, and other diseases and disabilities.”

Exercise is Medicine is a global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine. It focuses on physical activity being integral to the prevention and treatment of diseases.
“Research reveals that 50 percent of what equates to being healthy is directly attributed to healthy behaviors or lifestyle choices,” Carter said. “Ironically, only 4 percent of healthcare spending is directed towards promoting healthy lifestyle choices. We can and must do more to prevent and manage disease.”

VSU is an active member of the Exercise is Medicine on Campus program, which calls upon universities and colleges to engage in the promotion of physical activity as a vital sign of health. This includes creating a campus community culture that makes movement a part of everyday life, assesses physical activity at every student health visit, provides the tools necessary to strengthen physical activity habits that can last a lifetime, and connects university health care providers with university health fitness specialists to provide a referral system for exercise prescription.  

VSU’s participation in the Exercise is Medicine on Campus program is a collaborative effort between the School of Health Sciences and Campus Wellness.
The School of Health Sciences is home to VSU’s Exercise Physiology Program, Athletic Training Program, and Health Sciences Program. Its faculty, staff, and students host an annual Exercise is Medicine Symposium and operate the Center for Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation, which houses the Athletic Training Clinic and the Fitness and Wellness Center and offers a variety of preventive and therapeutic services to the university and surrounding community.
Campus Wellness promotes an increased awareness and practice of a healthy lifestyle by offering a variety of educational activities and programs that address the social, intellectual, occupational, spiritual, physical, and emotional wellness of the university’s faculty, staff, and student population. This includes the annual Benefits and Wellness Fair, which gives students, faculty, staff, and retirees the opportunity to meet with dozens of representatives to learn about health, wellness, retirement, and benefit plans; healthy living challenges such as Walk Georgia, Active For Life, and Health Trails; group fitness classes; Dine and Discover; special initiatives like the Employee Assistance Program; and more. Additionally, VSU’s campus features the Walking Trail System, which includes the Fitness Route, the Scenic Route, the Historical Plants Tour, and the Whitehead Camellia Trail.
VSU was one of 43 campuses nationwide to achieve gold level recognition.  
VSU was recognized at the 2018 American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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