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BU ranked third-fittest college in America

SAR offers new nutrition courses at Fitrec

Molly Francis (SMG’05) works out on one of the Fitness and Recreation Center’s 33 treadmills. Photo by Kalman Zabaskky

Warin Dexter has known for years that BU students were into physical fitness, but when he saw that the University was recently ranked the third-fittest college in America in a survey conducted by Men’s Fitness magazine, he couldn’t help but smile — from ear to ear.

“I was thrilled,” says Dexter, director of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (PERD). “This reinforces the fact that building the Fitness and Recreation Center was a great idea.”

Men’s Fitness, working with the Princeton Review, surveyed more than 10,000 students from 660 colleges and universities and released its rankings in its October issue.

The 270,000-square-foot Fitness and Recreation Center, which opened last April, attracts about 6,000 students a day. “We have nearly 4,000 students registered in our for-credit physical education courses this semester — an all-time high,” he says. “And in the spring, I expect even more students to enroll. In the past, we’ve usually drawn about 3,500 students to these classes each semester, but I think the new facility is giving more of them an opportunity to take advantage of these offerings.”

Responding to the growing demand for new physical education courses, PERD has expanded its offerings. The Fitness and Recreation Center, says Dexter, “also allows us to offer noncredit courses that were impossible to take on campus before, including rock climbing, racquetball, and squash.”

Nutrition classes offered

PERD, in collaboration with Sargent College, is offering three new credit classes this semester. The courses, Healthy Dieting, Vegetarian Nutrition, and Sports Nutrition, were designed by nutrition faculty at Sargent College’s Nutrition and Fitness Center and will be held at the Fitness and Recreation Center’s multipurpose classroom 221.

“We developed the courses after receiving a lot of calls from people requesting information on these topics,” says Stacey Stimets, the Sargent Center’s coordinator.

Healthy Dieting, a one-credit physical education class, runs from 11 a.m. to noon for 12 Tuesdays, beginning September 20. Vegetarian Nutrition, a half-credit class, meets from noon to 1 p.m on six Tuesdays starting November. Sports Nutrition, also a half-credit class, will meet from 2 to 3 p.m. on six Thursdays, beginning October 27.

Students — whose academic course load typically consists of 16 credits — may take physical education courses reach the 18 credits a semester they’re allowed. Faculty and staff may take these courses using their tuition remission benefit.

“We see the Fitness and Recreation Center as a place where people can go to refresh their bodies and their spirits,” says Dexter. “There is a well-documented connection between physical fitness, academic success, and personal well-being.”

Herb Voigt, an ENG biomedical engineering professor, agrees: “As a matter of policy, I advise all my students to consider taking a physical education class. It’s a great way to for them relieve stress and build some downtime into their weekly schedules.”

Healthy Dieting emphasizes the scientific evidence about nutrition and activity for safe and effective weight loss. Vegetarian Nutrition includes field trips and cooking demonstrations. Sports Nutrition focuses on protein, carbohydrate, and fat and fluid needs before, during, and after resistance and endurance exercise. For more information on nutrition courses, click here.