NKU encourages students to battle obesity

Balancing classwork, studying, family, work and the ever-important social time is one of the biggest challenges for any college student. Miraculously, students often still find themselves bored and needing refreshment.

At Northern Kentucky University, there is a movement to get students to use this time for physical fitness. Through expanded offerings including personal trainers, wellness campaigns and student dialogues, NKU is actively providing ways to end the obesity epidemic.

“[There is] something to meet [student] needs and help them achieve a healthier life, regardless if they are just starting to think about health or they have been for years,” student wellness manager Maggie Gough said of the NKU campus. The campus features a recreation center where students can play basketball, run on an indoor track and swim.

NKU even offers personal trainers at a price significantly less than off-campus sources. The price for a single session with a personal trainer is $15. A comparable off-campus service would cost an individual $60-$70. At NKU, students can get three sessions for that price. The price goes down if students purchase multiple sessions in advance, with six sessions costing $114, or $7.60 per session.

For students who do not want to take on the challenge of personal training alone, the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) also offers buddy sessions for pairs wishing to train together. Prices for this service jump to $45 per session.

Besides personal fitness, NKU personal trainer Dan Wolfinger said the sessions provide students with a chance to find accomplishment.

“The more someone wants something, the hungrier they are going to be, and the hungrier they are will reflect in their ability to be persistent and consistent throughout the course of accomplishing their goal,” Wolfinger said.

Individual goals can also be met through the many classes offered by the CRC which include kickboxing, Pilates and a beginner class focused on building stronger abs and arms.

For students unsure of what goals to set, NKU Wellness is offering a free health survey to provide students with a personalized health report featuring areas where students may want to improve.

Another campaign invites students to get their weeks off to a healthy start by observing “Meatless Mondays.” NKU Dining has joined in by offering special vegetarian options. The initiative also encourages students to go on the “Monday Mile” and walk or run at least one mile during their lunch break.

To continue with the healthy Monday theme, NKU Wellness and the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement are launching a series of sessions designed to encourage student dialogue on the growing problem of obesity and thoughts on how to combat it. “Healthy Monday: Let’s Talk” sessions will begin in mid-February where student facilitators will enter NKU classrooms and put participants in work groups to examine ways that outside forces contribute to obesity. A whiteboard in the Student Union will also allow students to write feedback on possible contributing forces to obesity.

“It’s not about debating, it’s not about arguing, it’s about listening in a respectful way,” Scripps Howard Center Program Coordinator Collette Thompson said.

The goal of the sessions is not to embarrass or ridicule people battling obesity, according to Thompson, but instead about dealing with the societal problem and re-framing the way people look at obesity.

For more information on the programs and offerings visit http://wellness.nku.edu/.

Story by Danielle Wesley and Jesse Call