Florida A&M University is making an effort to educate students about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
FAMU has developed numerous programs and tools to provide students with the opportunity to become knowledgeable about mental, physical and nutritional health. Nutritional and physical officials believe the clinic, counseling center, recreational center and cafeteria provide students with effective ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
FAMU Sunshine Manor Counselor Allison Lockard said mental, physical health and nutritional health are linked, making total body awareness a very important matter.
“Everything impacts everything else,” she said.
Director of Student Affairs Tanya Tatum said a healthy lifestyle begins with what goes into the body. Tatum explained that learning to read nutritional facts on food allows students to become more aware of what they are eating.
“It is important for students to know that fast food is a fast way to poor health,” Tatum said. Smart choices are the best way to eat health. Try smaller proportions and stay away from greasy, fried, foods.
FAMU Fitness coordinator Chip Heimbach said, “If students can cook, it gives them the control of what goes in there.”
If students live on campus, they should try eating in the cafeteria. Terry Woodard, general manager of Sodexo Campus Services, said the dining menus are prepared with the customer’s health and wellness in mind. He said the cafeteria is all-you-can-eat; however, students should check out all their options before making a decision.
In addition, Woodard explained because the cafeteria is all-you-can-eat, students should use judgment when determining the right amount of food to eat.
“I feel that students should be aware of the foods they are consuming as well as the amount of food,” Woodard said.
Most college students have busy schedules and are constantly on the go, making eating healthy a bit of a struggle, Heimbach said.
Heimbach said advanced planning can really solve that problem. If students map out meals to eat the day before or pack their snacks and lunch, it will allow students to eat healthy and really cut back on the cost of food.
Tatum said, “Putting good habits in place will help you. Everyone should just try to slowly become more conscious. You don’t have to immediately stop eating all the stuff you love.”
Heimbach said physical fitness plays an important role when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The FAMU Recreational Center offers three one-on-one fitness orientations, which are programs designed for each individual Heimbach said.
“Students need to know they have paid for this facility, so why not use it,” Heimbach said
The gym also offers many events and activities that are available for students said Jofree Joseph, a senior at FAMU.
“The gym has many recreational sports and events,” Joseph said.
Robert Carroll Jr., director of Campus Recreation, said the rec center is available to all students and should be taken advantage of.
“Working out is making a commitment to a quality of life,” Carroll said.
Heimbach, having smart goals that are specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic and time sensitive allows students to monitor and work towards the fitness level of their choice.
“We want to help you obtain your goals,” Heimbach said.
Mental health is affected by level of fitness and what is put into the body. Not eating effects student’s attention span and decreases energy levels Lockard explained.
“Exercising is a good stress reliever,” Lockard said. “It also makes you more productive, allowing you to think clearly.”
Students can educate themselves about the importance of fitness.
“Eating well without Time and Money” and “101 Ways to Eat Smart” are two informative pamphlets that describe quick ways to learn the basics about eating smart, Heimbech said, both can be found in the FAMU clinic.
In addition, students can check out the Rec Center’s Web site, which will be up and running in the near future.