By Mark Rountree
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Living a healthy lifestyle is not solely about watching what you eat.
Oklahoma State University employees are learning just that in a program designed to maximize their level of health and fitness.
The 14-week program, Building a Lifestyle on Activity, Nutrition, Confidence and Energy — or B.A.L.A.N.C.E. — began in fall 2011 and consists of health screenings, fitness assessments, physical activity, nutritional counseling and lifestyle modification classes.
“I think the program is fantastic. Anyone having health issues, especially someone with high risk factors, should be in the B.A.L.A.N.C.E. program. I would recommend it to anyone,” said program participant Ed Kirtley. “One thing I have learned is that it’s not simply what you put into your mouth, it’s how you view yourself, it’s exercise, it’s a lot of things that come together to make you healthy.”
Kirtley was one of 12 benefits-eligible employees accepted into the most recent session of the program, one of many wellness initiatives happening at OSU as the university strives to be “America’s Heathiest Campus.” Participants undergo periodic health screenings to assess such things as blood pressure, abdominal circumference and weight. They also have fitness assessments that document cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, endurance and flexibility.
Participants work with personal trainers and registered dietitians, attend weekly group meetings on healthy eating and are required to maintain a daily food journal.
“Our goal in the B.A.L.A.N.C.E. program is to help participants develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve their optimal level of health and fitness,” said Mary Talley, employee wellness program manager within the Department of Wellness. “We are thrilled that every B.A.L.A.N.C.E. participant graduated the program with improved health, but are especially heartened by the fact that such a high percentage improved so dramatically. ”
The free program is open to any employee, but preference is given to applicants with the most risk factors.
“No matter the background or story of someone, everyone deserves a chance to better themselves and prolong their life, and that is what the B.A.L.A.N.C.E. program accomplishes,” said Tabi Deal, health educator within the Department of Wellness.
Classes are held twice each school year — once in the fall and again in the spring. Applications are available for the fall class. The deadline is Aug. 9, and the class begins Aug. 19.
For more information about the B.A.L.A.N.C.E. program, contact Talley at 405-744-6907 or email@example.com.