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KNOXVILLE – Students, faculty and staff at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are being challenged to stay in shape — and possibly keep a few New Year’s resolutions — thanks to a new initiative from the campus’ Student Health Services.

The VolFit Challenge is an eight-week program designed to encourage healthy lifestyles and behaviors in the campus community by promoting habits that reduce stress and minimize or prevent chronic diseases such as obesity.

The challenge will officially kick off at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19, in the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center Ballroom. The kickoff event will feature free health assessments to UT students, faculty and staff, exercise demonstrations and an overview of the eight-week challenge. Tauren Poole, junior tailback on the Volunteers football team, will be the guest speaker.

Each week during the eight-week challenge, VolFit participants will take part in educational sessions and exercise challenges. Educational sessions will range from what to eat before and after exercising to healthy food shopping on campus. They will be encouraged to participate in weekly VolFit-organized exercise activities as well as activities on their own, totaling at least three workouts and 150 minutes of activity each week. Participants will track their progress using the e-Wellness Program, a Web-based weight control program developed by the UT Ag Extension Office, the outreach unit of the university’s Institute of Agriculture. Through eWellness, participants will be educated on healthy eating and will keep track of their fruit, vegetable and water consumption.

Wednesday’s kickoff event will introduce and explain the VolFit program to the campus community. Participants will record their beginning weight, body mass index and blood pressure. Combined with the data compiled in eWellness, participants may earn “Striving for Good Health” or “Individual Healthy Lifestyle” awards when the challenge ends on March 9. Weekly prize drawings will take place at the Wednesday Walk on Campus activities.

C O N T A C T :

Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304,