Zayed University organizes an initiative to help students and staff lead a healthier lifestyle


April 13, 2015

Zayed University Sports and Recreation Center is launching an initiative to help students, faculty and staff lead a healthier lifestyle. The initiative, which will run for one hour per week for around six weeks, will include experts’ advice and support to enable Zayed University’s students, faculty and staff to develop a better understanding of how to make small but lifelong changes.

“It is not our first time to organize such an initiative. We ran another program targeting students, whose relatives have diabetes. The outcomes of that program were very positive, as all participants were encouraged to engage and learn more about improving their health. However, this time we are targeting a wider audience. We have invited students, staff and faculty to join us, as we try out this advanced program for the first time,” Louise Horsley, Sports Coordinator at Zayed University’s Abu Dhabi campus, said.

Several studies in the UAE showed that people of different ages, are leading an unhealthy lifestyle resulting in more sickness and diseases.

“Throughout our interaction with Zayed University students, we have realized some of them are lacking basic knowledge on health,” Malin Garemo, Assistant Professor in the department of Nature Sciences and Public Health, College of Sustainability and Humanities, said.

The initiative will not only focus on leading a healthy lifestyle, but will also link physical and psychological health, whilst spreading awareness on the dos and donts of healthy lifestyles.

 “We also know that students get stressed at certain periods during their studies, leaving some underweight, others overweight, and a fraction malnurtured. Therefore, throughout this initiative, students will be empowered with the knowledge they need to improve their chances of a long healthy life,” Garemo, who is also a clinical dietician, specialized in pediatrics and cystic fibrosis, explained.

Many chronic health problems are associated with modifiable lifestyle behaviors, such as poor dietary choices and physical inactivity. Therefore, health care professionals play an integral role in motivating their patients to adopt healthier lifestyles.

“We know that knowledge is the first way to change a negative behavior. Thus, we will give students and staff tips and information on how to improve their attitude towards health. Collecting data can help students and staff stick to their health goals, such as keeping a food journal and taking the time to walk around campus to improve fitness,” Garemo explained.

Behavior change is a gradual process, accomplished in stages through which the patient must progress.

“Each individual will have different needs and will set different goals. Our job is to support students and increase their readiness to change,” Garemo said.

Basic Tips for Success

    •    Use stairs instead of elevators.

    •    Walk at a faster pace between classes to get your heart rate up.

    •    Choose to take the long route to your classrooms instead the short one.

    •    Have your breakfast. Start your day off right with a balanced, healthy meal when you get up.

    •    Vary your meals. Changing your diet is an important part of good nutrition.

    •    Get some exercise. Regular physical activity will improve your physical and mental health and fitness.

    •    Think beyond the gym and sign up for an activity that will enable you to meet new people and take on new challenges.

    •    Keep track of water consumption.