As a Bicycle Friendly Campus located along the scenic Boise River Greenbelt, Boise State University already is in a strong position to support a healthy lifestyle. However, organizers believe a new campus initiative will help elevate the 22,000-student campus to a whole new state of fitness and well-being.
Known as BroncoFit, the initiative includes physical, mental and financial health, as well as an understanding of health insurance and the new health care models being developed as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Baseline screenings are being developed to help campus organizers understand what students, faculty and staff already know, feel and do in relation to their health. While creating a new model of health promotion and health care delivery, this information will be used to generate programs, courses, apps and policies likely to result in more knowledgeable health consumers.
About 21 million students are enrolled in colleges and universities across the United States each year. Campuses also comprise countless employees in jobs ranging from teaching to administration. But very few institutions collect health data in a systematic fashion, and little is being done to create a business model for improving the health of university populations.
“If we can create informed consumers of health promotion and care on campus, the potential exists to enhance and influence the health of the entire nation,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “The BroncoFit program aims to be the catalyst for this big idea.”
Campus policies addressing wellness, campus housing, food availability, walking and biking access, well-being courses and more will be examined or developed, with an eye toward creating a healthy environment.
Faculty, staff and students from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Business and Economics are contributing complementary theories and approaches from the fields of business, economics and health. Professionals within University Health Services are charged with implementation and day-to-day operations.
One step is creation of a freshman health enhancement course. Students will be offered incentives to answer questions related to their health knowledge, beliefs and behaviors as well as select biometric data. This information will be summarized for their personal use in a one-credit course about personal health and how to become savvy medical consumers.
“KIN-ACT 197 will offer practical, real-world information that is especially important to college students,” said Tina Freeman, a graduate of Boise State’s master’s program in health promotion and the central academic adviser in the Department of Kinesiology. “This includes mental health and test anxiety, physical health, injury prevention, healthy eating, financial responsibility and holistic therapies, among other things.”
The course will include 15-20 minutes of exercise in each class period, and a requirement to be physically active outside of class. The goal is to have each student meet The World Health Organization’s recommended weekly guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity.
Faculty interested in collaborating in the development, implementation and analyses associated with BroncoFit are invited to attend an informational session from 3-5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 21, in the Student Union Bishop Barnwell Room.