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SAR’s Healthy Lifestyle Challenge starts Monday with free breakfast

Six-month journey makes healthful living fun, convenient, delicious

Participants in last school year's Healthy Lifestyle Challenge took part in a walk last April.

Sargent College kicks off its second annual Healthy Lifestyle Challenge on Monday, October 3, with the goal of helping people make long-lasting changes to improve their health. Participants who sign up through the program’s Web site will receive e-mail instructions for a new lifestyle challenge every two weeks, and upon completing the program, will be eligible for raffle prizes, event invitations, and a gift.

The challenges, devised by Sargent College faculty and students, represent the full range of expertise at the college, from nutrition to exercise. As part of last year’s program, for instance, participants were instructed to eat a healthier breakfast, to exercise during TV commercials, and to take time out at work to stretch.

“We really went to the experts,” says program organizer Paula Quatromoni, a SAR assistant professor of nutrition, adding that challenges were carefully designed for sustainability. They are “small things that anybody could do in their day and in their lifestyle without much invasiveness.”

Surveys completed by about one third of last year’s 1161 participants showed that 74 percent felt the program helped them improve their lifestyle habits. “Most impressive was the fact that 80 percent of participants reported that their weight was stable during the challenge and 12 percent reported losing some weight,” says Quatromoni. “That is a terrific trend and a huge public health goal.”

The challenge was launched last year to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Sargent College and its 75th anniversary as part of the University, according to SAR Dean Gloria Waters.

“We decided that health and wellness was a theme that we really wanted to focus on during this period of our anniversaries,” Waters says, “and it seemed like one way to make the whole Boston University community knowledgeable about what Sargent College is doing.”

The challenge is open to all BU students, faculty, staff,

alumni, and friends of the University, as well as anyone in the greater community interested in participating; so far, more than 1,000 people have signed up.

To celebrate the kick-off, Sargent College will be offering free breakfast bags on Monday, October 3, from 7:30 to 10 a.m. in the school’s lobby, at 635 Commonwealth Ave. The bags will include a 100 percent whole-grain muffin made with no trans fats, according to Stacey Stimets, coordinator of Sargent’s Nutrition and Fitness Center, who helped develop the recipe.

Sargent Choice expands

The muffin is part of the Sargent Choice line of foods developed by the college’s nutrition department. The full line is available at the Shelton Hall dining room and the Fresh Food Company at West Campus, with some featured items available at other residential dining halls. BU Dining Services plans to have the line available across campus by spring. Sargent Choice foods are made with whole grains, more fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean protein, and heart-healthy oils. Selections include entrees, sandwiches, pizza, soups, salads, muffins, and cookies.

“Ultimately our mission is to further the mission of the University

. . . there’s plenty of opportunities for students to leverage their educational experiences in real life, so to sit in a nutrition class and learn about nutrition lacks a dimension if you’re not able to then go and make use of that,” says Joshua Hubbard, director of Dining Services.

Brochures, posters, and station signage, as well as tables staffed by Sargent students who can answer questions about healthful eating, will promote the Sargent Choice line in the dining halls.