April 22, 2016

Andrews University Gets Top Marks for Promoting Physical Activity

Andrews University has become the first private university to be awarded gold-level status by the American College of Sports Medicine for its efforts to encourage the campus community to engage in physical exercise.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church-owned university in Berrien Springs, Michigan, received the recognition after implementing the American College of Sports Medicine’s “Exercise is Medicine on Campus” program, which promotes physical activity among students, faculty, and staff at colleges and universities worldwide.

The American College of Sports Medicine is the world’s largest sports medicine and exercise science organization.

“Exercise is truly medicine, and we look forward to continue promoting this medium among this campus, and the local and global community, to strive for a higher quality of life,” Dominique Wakefield, director of health and wellness at Andrews University, said Thursday in an emailed statement. “This will bring greater happiness and wellbeing.”

Health and wellness has long been a key component of Adventist education. But in an age of fast food and sedentary lifestyles, several Adventist universities have taken steps recently to promote healthier living on campus.

Oakwood University, located in Huntsville, Alabama, began the current academic year with an ambitious plan to become the healthiest campus in the United States by revising its curriculum to incorporate the eight laws of health backed by the Adventist world church’s Health Ministries department: sunlight, temperance, adequate rest, nutrition, drink water, outdoors, use of physical activity, and trust in God.

Read: Oakwood Seeks to Be Healthiest U.S. Campus

Last year, Loma Linda University Health swapped out candy bars and soda in favor of whole grain-based foods and bottled waters in the 30 vending machines at its eight professional schools and six hospitals in California.

Read: Loma Linda University Health Dumps Junk Food

Andrews had to meet several criteria to qualify for the gold status, the university said. Those include:

  • Making movement a part of the daily campus culture
  • Assessing physical activity at every student health visit
  • Providing students with the tools necessary to strengthen healthy physical activity habits that can last a lifetime
  • Connecting university healthcare providers with university health fitness specialists to provide a referral system for exercise prescription

Only six other universities in the United States have achieved gold status, the university said. They are Auburn University in Alabama, California State University Long Beach, Michigan State University, Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and Western Kentucky University.