Nutrition initiative takes on bigger role on OU campus
An on-campus initiative intended to help Sooners make more healthful nutritional decisions is being restructured to make a greater impact at restaurants and eateries unique to campus.
Melodie Lettkeman, The Oklahoma Daily
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• 20.5 percent of college students were classified as being overweight based on body mass index calculations.
• More than one third (37.6 percent) of college students nationwide had participated in activities that had made them sweat and breathe hard for at least 20 minutes on at least 3 of the 7 days preceding the survey.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: State Trends from 1985-2010.
• 33.8 percent of U.S. adults are obese.
• In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20 percent.
• Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25 percent or more.
• Twelve states had a prevalence of 30 percent or more.
• 30.4 percent of Oklahomans are obese.
• In 2008, 26.8 percent of Cleveland County adults were physically inactive
As a result, more healthful menu options and expanded nutritional information will be available soon at restaurants such as Crossroads Restaurant in the Oklahoma Memorial Union, OU Director of Community Experience Ryan Trevino said.
The university’s Fitter Foods initiative was launched as a pilot program in March, but the program has been augmented to better educate students, faculty and staff about the program, Trevino said.
“The primary goal is to create a better-informed consumer in regards to eating healthier,” Trevino said. “Some restaurants will have new menu items, but there will also be some restaurants where they’ll be making healthier versions of the same item.”
After nearly a year as a pilot program, Housing and Food redesigned Fitter Foods “in direct response to the needs of our customers and in response to how we define healthier eating,” Trevino said.
As of 2010, 33.8 percent of U.S. adults were obese, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, and no state had an obesity prevalence of fewer than 20 percent.
Oklahoma is one of 12 states with an obesity prevalence of 30 percent or more, with 30.4 percent of Oklahomans being obese. In 2008, 26.8 percent of Cleveland County’s adult residents were physically inactive, according to CDC.
Fitter Foods will begin at Crossroads Restaurant, though eventually all restaurants unique to OU will take part in Fitter Foods.
The program is intended to keep customers at campus eateries informed as the ability to access nutritional information increases, OU Food Services Director Charles Weaver said.
“As we become more sophisticated in our nutrition gathering information process, we will pass that information on to our customers,” Weaver said. “It’s a trend, and we want to keep up with that.”
Housing and Food formed Fitter Foods in response to an annual university survey, which revealed the importance of healthful food choices to OU students, Weaver said.
With the program in place, a customer will be able to easily identify healthful foods on menus without having to use a university nutritional calculator, Weaver said.
“This is a program that our customers want,” said Weaver. “It’s something we have had in place, and we’re just expanding on it now.”
At an event Wednesday at Crossroads Restaurant, OU Ingredient Specialist Dorothy Flowers discussed the Fitter Foods program and OU’s nutritional calculator with students.
Flowers manned a table in the lounge next to the restaurant displaying a four-panel metal board featuring nutritional facts and information about Fitter Foods.
In addition to discussing nutritional information, Flowers handed out pedometers to passing students.
Walking is the simplest form of exercise, and students should walk about 10,000 steps every day, Flowers said.
Flowers also publicized Dinner with the Dietitian, an event where a dietitian will discuss strategies for healthy eating at 6 p.m. March 1 in Cate Lounge.
“All of our foods are excellent, but you just have to realize you can’t eat that burger every day,” Flowers said. “It’s important for you to have all the right information to make the right choices.”