By MATT CRANE
Mississippi State University continues to make health a top priority for its students, faculty and staff as free health screenings begin Monday as a part its the MSU on the Move program.
The program is funded by a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.
Director of Health Education and Wellness for University Health Services Joyce Yates said she is excited about continuing the nutrition and fitness initiative that debuted last fall.
“We hope people are getting to see their numbers and become motivated to get into shape,” she said. “We’ll wait nine weeks to compare their readings and see how their commitment to exercise and nutrition has gone.”
Yates said the screenings will provide information on participants’ blood pressure, body mass index, glucose levels, cholesterol and waist circumference.
“January provides a great opportunity for people wanting to start the year right by getting into shape, and even though some may be at a good weight, this may help motivate them to get out of a sedentary lifestyle,” she said. “A lot of people use weight as a starting point, but these numbers are ones that need to be maintained at healthy level throughout the year.”
Yates said the goal of the MSU on the Move program is the creation of a healthier culture at the university by providing an array of educational and outreach programs focusing on nutritional and physical well-being for those on campus.
“The MSU community really embraces this program, which is very rewarding for us,” she said. “We want to bring success to every aspect of life at MSU because if people feel good about themselves, they will strive to be the best they can be.”
Yates, a 25-year veteran in the field of health education, said she is encouraged to be in a position the implement such a program at MSU.
“The things I have taught over the years have come to fruition as a program director here at MSU,” she said. “Personally, it is something I want to demonstrate in my own lifestyle, because you cannot be productive if you don’t model what you teach and encourage others to do the same.”
Yates said she is optimistic about the turn out for the spring health screenings due to last semester’s response.
“We had about 968 participants in the fall,” she said. “Since spring is a time when people are in the mode to get into shape, we are hoping for an increase this semester.”
Along with the free health screenings provided by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Mississippi grant, Yates said she looking forward to the next phase of fostering healthier lifestyles on campus.
“We are looking forward to the walking track around Chadwick Lake that will be available for the MSU community as well as Starkville residents,” she said. “All of the preliminary construction plans are about to be complete and we hope construction will begin very soon.”
The MSU on the Move free health screenings are scheduled for Jan. 7, 9, 15, 17, 23 and 25.
For more information, call 662-325-7545 or visit http://www.msuonthemove.msstate.edu .