UND honored for expanding healthy eating options

Last month, Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair Former First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier, announced that the University of North Dakota one of its first Healthier Campus Initiative partners, has completed its commitment to expand healthier options across its campus.

The University of North Dakota is one of 21 institutions of higher learning to implement PHA’s rigorous Healthier Campus Initiative guidelines designed to enhance campus environments by supporting and promoting better eating and improved physical fitness. These guidelines ranged from healthy wellness meals to access to potable water, as well as more diverse opportunities for physical activity.

“This effort is reflective of our deep commitment to the health of our students, faculty and staff,” said Karina Knutson, Associate Director of Wellness Promotion. “We are proud to be a pioneer in the movement to creating a culture change towards health on campus and hope our example leads others to join the movement.”

“We couldn’t be prouder to have the University of North Dakota on board as a PHA partner,” said Blythe Thomas, PHA’s Chief Marketing Officer. “UND’s leadership is important step forward towards realizing PHA’s goal that all young people grow up free from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with excess weight.”

Through its commitment to PHA, UND has built upon existing efforts, creating a healthier environment for its entire community. Of the 23 commitment elements implemented, a few highlights include:

  • Offering a minimum of five (5) types of fruits, five (5) types of vegetables and two (2) 100% whole grain products at both lunch and dinner in each Dining Center.
  • Labeling food and beverage items offered with calories per serving at the point of presentation.
  • Providing marked walking routes on campus, one that is at least two (2) miles in length and have distance markers at regular intervals. A route map was also made available to individuals on campus.
  • Offering a rewards-on-benefits structured program that gives insurance premium discounts and/or rebates to individuals on campus who participate in a wellness program designated by the health insurer or campus.
  • Offering non-academic cooking skills classes that are available to students.

As part of their multi-year commitment, Healthier Campus Initiative (HCI) partners enhance their campus environments to encourage and support greater physical activity and healthier eating habits. Each college or university partner commits to meeting 23 of 41 guidelines within three years. The guidelines were developed by PHA in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading nutrition, physical activity and campus wellness experts. As with all PHA partners, each of the commitment elements have been verified by an independent third party and are publicly reported in PHA’s annual progress reports.

UND, along with the other 20 institutions which have completed the multi-year commitment, are being honored at the upcoming Partnership for a Healthier America Summit this week in Washington, DC.  The topic for this year’s summit is Innovating a Healthier Future.

A full overview of UND’s commitment can be found here on the PHA website.

PHA and its campus partners use the hashtag #HealthyCampus to spread the word. To learn more about PHA’s participating colleges and universities, visit www.ahealthieramerica.org/campuses.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.