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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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"Eat Well, Live Well challenge promotes healthier lifestyles"

The decision to lead a healthy lifestyle is a multi-faceted challenge. For faculty from over a dozen departments at UB, this challenge is one worth taking.

The Eat Well, Live Well challenge, first initiated at UB last semester and administered through the Wellness and Work Life Balance Unit, is a way for UB employees to monitor their eating and exercise decisions. The pilot challenge was so successful that it prompted the Human Resources department to expand the program this semester.

According to Katherine Frier, the director of Wellness and Work/Life Balance in the Human Resources department, Wegmans first created the Eat Well, Live Well Challenge to promote healthy lifestyle choices at corporations and organizations in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas.

'[Wegmans] created this simple program so that people in the regions they serve learn simple but effective ways to improve their lifestyle choices,' Frier said. 'This workplace program is given to participating employers at no cost to teach consumers about the importance of taking preventive measures to avoid long-term health issues and to feel better about their fitness despite not always having the time to eat right or go to the gym.'

Participants in the challenge are encouraged to walk 10,000 steps (or five miles) per day, as well as consume five cups of fruits or vegetables. Faculty members will use a pedometer and measuring cups to track their progress throughout the eight-week challenge.

Frier believes that the Eat Well, Live Well challenge will not only help UB faculty to lead healthier lifestyles, but it will also foster friendly relationships between co-workers.

'We have a large employee population and it is in everyone's best interest to be more aware of steps they can take to be healthier,' Frier said. 'Since we have to work within a framework of increasing demands and decreasing budgets, we think this is a fabulous way to increase awareness and increase camaraderie among the workforce.'

Although the overarching concept of this semester's Eat Well, Live Well challenge is the same as it was last semester, there are some important additions.

This year, the Wellness and Work Life Balance Unit will partner with faculty from the School of Public Health and Health Professionals to administer an optional Health Risk Assessment to the participants. The HRA will help participants to see the progress they have made by comparing their blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol readings, hours of activity, and their energy level and self-satisfaction.

Last year, only three buildings participated in the challenge, but this year, the program has expanded to include about 20 different teams from all over the university.

Frier is excited that all three campuses are represented in the challenge this year, and the sizes of the teams range from five to 40 people.

'We are thrilled to have received such a positive response,' Frier said.

According to Frier, even the faculty who do not participate in the challenge can learn a lot from those who do.

'Employees that are feeling better are proven to be more productive, have less absenteeism and have higher morale,' Frier said.

Although the Eat Well, Live Well challenge is restricted to faculty and staff, Frier points out that in demonstrating their efforts to live healthier, faculty members can inspire students to do the same.

'Stepping into a classroom wearing a pedometer and talking about the challenges of getting those five cups of veggies a day with their students will only reinforce the crucial message that wellness is important and that UB cares about the welfare of its students, faculty and staff,' Frier said.




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