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UT has been named a gold level campus by the Exercise Is Medicine global health initiative managed by the American College of Sports Medicine.

It is recommended that individuals get 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity each week to maintain good health and prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, a 2013 American College Health Association-National College Health Association survey reported that many college students fail to get that much exercise.

For the past two years, staff at UT’s Student Health Center have worked with RecSports and the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies to help students increase the level of moderate activity in their daily lives.

“Providing opportunities for physical activity, creating a culture on campus that embraces movement as a daily facet of life, and providing the behavioral tools necessary to enact that change are key to facilitating lifelong physical activity habits and meeting public health goals,” said Rebecca Morgan, MD, sports medicine director in the UT Student Health Center.

Students who access care at the center are asked a set of questions, called the physical activity vital signs, to assess their level of activity. Those who do not meet the 150-minute-per-week exercise goal are offered a referral to the Center for Physical Activity and Health. There they can meet with an Exercise is Medicine ambassador, a Department of Kinesiology student trained to provide ideas and resources for increasing activity.

Students are encouraged to use TRECS and other recreational facilities to achieve their exercise goals. The team is in the process of building the program to include group activities to promote Exercise Is Medicine.

Additionally, the group plans to train staff in the Student Counseling Center to use the physical activity vital signs survey and refer students to the Center for Physical Activity and Health.