CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 17, 2014)—The University of Miami is joining the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in a three-year commitment to make its campus healthier by adopting guidelines around food and nutrition, physical activity, and programming.
PHA works with the private sector and honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier. In joining the partnership, this initiative will impact nearly 17,000 students and more than 14,000 faculty and staff on campus.
“The University of Miami is proud to be at the forefront of this national partnership,” said President Donna E. Shalala. “As one of 20 schools in the first cohort, the University has reaffirmed its commitment to creating a culture of wellness and fostering a healthy lifestyle for our students and campuses, in all aspects of daily life.”
Shalala served as secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, and is currently co-chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative under the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).
The University’s new PHA initiative supports BPC’s 2012 report, “Lots to Lose: How America’s Health and Obesity Crisis Threatens our Economic Future,” which called on large institutions, including hospitals and universities, to procure and serve healthier foods using their market power to shift food supply chains and make healthier options more readily available.
The partnership was announced on Sunday, November 16 at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2014 Annual Meeting & Exposition. UM is one of the first schools to sign on to PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, which includes 19 other colleges and universities, collectively impacting more than 500,000 students and 126,000 faculty and staff. Ashley Falcon, assistant director for wellness, represented UM at the APHA meeting.
The University’s commitments to the Partnership for a Healthier America include a wide range of health and wellness initiatives focusing on three key areas: food and nutrition, physical activity, and wellness programming. The commitments range from offering healthier food options at on-campus dining locations and supporting locally grown, sustainable menu items to developing physical activity guidelines for campus audiences and bolstering its already comprehensive wellness programming.
“Colleges and universities are in a unique position to help shape tomorrow’s leaders, whether they are teachers, coaches, policymakers, CEOs, moms, or dads,” said PHA Chief Executive Officer Lawrence A. Soler. “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.”
Across campuses, the Herbert Wellness Center and UHealth Fitness and Wellness Center provide educational opportunities to raise awareness and develop wellness skills, while UM Dining Services provides healthy menu options, nutritional information, and the assistance of a registered dietician. The availability of fresh produce from the weekly farmer’s market and organic food buying club, both initiatives established by student organizations, further supplement these efforts by increasing the availability of healthy choices on campus.
For more information on PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, visit www.ahealthieramerica.org/campuses.