Inside Rensselaer
Healthy Campus Initiative Results in 550 Pounds Lost
In an effort to make a commitment to long-term success in health, fitness, and weight management, more than 150 faculty and staff participated in the inaugural Weigh 2 Be (W2B) program, a 10-week weight loss and fitness challenge that kicked off in February. By April, the group had lost a total of 549.2 pounds, and more than 148 inches. The Division of Human Resources launched the initiative in partnership with Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan (CDPHP) to support Rensselaer’s Healthy Campus Initiative.

“The Healthy Campus Initiative has given us an opportunity to help Rensselaer faculty and staff identify areas for health improvement, set realistic health goals, and to create an action plan of continuous improvement,” said Curtis Powell, vice president for human resources. Powell also participated in the W2B program along with several members of his staff. “The faculty and staff of Rensselaer are our most valuable resources. In launching the program, we wanted participants to consider the potential benefits of pursuing healthier lifestyle habits in a fun and supportive environment. The positive results indicate that many adopted an improved holistic outlook of the mind, body, and spirit, and plan to maintain a sustainable weight loss and fitness regimen.”

Some achievements included significant changes in body mass index (BMI) ratings, which measure body fat based on height and weight. For example, three participants moved from overweight to an ideal BMI; six participants moved from obese to an overweight BMI rating; and 36 participants decreased their BMI by at least one point. Additional personal success stories included an individual who saw a significant decrease in their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels; a participant who lost more than 4 pounds and noticed a drop in blood glucose levels based on increased physical activity and diet changes; and an individual who achieved a weight loss of 6.5 percent accompanied by significant decreases in blood pressure.

A buddy system was used with employees working in teams of two. The program also provided participants with information on nutrition, exercise, and stress management techniques focused on helping individuals to lose weight safely. Participants attended weekly lunch-and-learn sessions that were led by CDPHP staffers with guest speakers that included an area nutritionist and Jonathan Hudak, assistant strength and conditioning coach at Rensselaer. Additional program benefits included pre- and post-body composition analysis, weekly weigh-ins, an opportunity to join a walking club, and free pedometers. An Online Fitness Tracker was used to monitor and determine winners of the physical activity award, and cash prizes were awarded to teams and employees with the highest percentage of weight loss.

During the award and recognition ceremony held last month, 18 participants representing individual and team winners with the highest percentage of weight loss were recognized for their efforts. The top three winners in each category also received cash prizes. Based on overwhelming interest in the program, the Division of Human Resources is planning to run additional sessions in the future.

For more information about the program, contact Louis Padula, director for benefits, retirement, and HRIS, at or at 276-6164.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 9, May 14, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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