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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Healthier U walks its way onto campus

    Stony Brook University’s new Healthier U Initiative is encouraging its employees to walk it off — literally.

    Healthier U is a wellness initiative with the goal of increasing the health and morale of university staff. The idea was conceived last year and is still in the early stages of development. The walking program is the first of many to keep Stony Brook’s staff healthier.

    In July, 650 employees were surveyed by the university to see exactly which health benefits were the most appealing. Results concluded that staff wanted to have body fat composition testing, nutritional counseling, stress management, yoga classes and retirement planning available through the school.

    More than 200 surveys indicated interest in a walking program and so far 350 employees have signed up. Five kick off walks were held around the university in mid-November. Clinton Weaver, senior director of Public Affairs and Marketing for Stony Brook Medical Center, said the kick offs were a great success.

    “I think it’s always rewarding to see something come to fruition,” Weaver said. “To see so much interest and to believe that ultimately we will have a benefit and an impact on the health of the employees who work here.”

    Healthier U’s walking program works directly with the American Heart Association, who provided pedometers to kick off attendees and offered support through their website. Employees sign up for the walking program through AHA and also track their mileage online. Incentive gifts are offered at the 25, 50, 75, 100 and 150-mile marks.

    “I think it’s steps like this that help people and steer them into a healthier life and [into] making healthier decisions,” said Regional American Heart Association Director Barbara Poliwoda. She believes that Stony Brook offers a unique opportunity for its employees because of all the medical resources, workout facilities and walking paths.

    However, the program as a whole will only be successful if participants stay dedicated.

    “The more people you touch with this message, the more people that are able to bring that message home with them,” said Poliwoda. “But it’s got to be part of your life.”

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