Southeastern seeks ‘WellSpot’ designation by state

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
by: Rene Abadie

HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will launch a campaign later this spring to educate its faculty and staff on healthy lifestyles, while seeking designation as a "Louisiana WellSpot."

Ralph Wood, assistant dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and chair of the university's Employee Wellness Committee, said the program will use the guidelines from the Well-Ahead Louisiana initiative, which was started by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Well-Ahead Louisiana promotes and recognizes healthy choices in places where people live and work every day.

WellSpots include schools and universities, hospitals, restaurants, and worksites.

"By law, we are a tobacco-free campus, and this is the first step in becoming certified as a Louisiana WellSpot," Wood said. "Our next approaches will be to assist individuals on campus who want to quit smoking and to promote healthy dietary guidelines."

The committee will alert the campus community of the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline, a free 24-hour a day service that assists individuals looking to quit smoking. The Quitline can be found through an Internet search or by calling 1-866-228-4327.

The university also offers professional smoking cessation programs for its staff and students through the Pennington Student Activity Center and the University Counseling Center.

"We are so excited that Southeastern's administration, faculty and students are committing to making healthier choices and are working towards a WellSpot designation," said J.T. Lane, Public Health assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Hospitals. "The campus is such a big part of everyday life for thousands of Louisiana residents in the Hammond area so making wellness-based choices easier on campus is so important. The university is setting a great example for other colleges and universities throughout the state."

In addition, Wood said the committee will focus on promotion of DHH's 5-2-1-0 Dietary Guidelines.

"Louisiana has a high rate of obesity and the diseases associated with it, including diabetes and heart disease," he explained.

Wood said the 5-2-1-0 program is a proactive approach that encourages people to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day; spending two or less hours per day on recreational screen time by limiting television and computer viewing; spending one or more hours on physical activity, and looking for healthy alternatives to drinking soda and sweetened drinks, such as water and low fat milk."

Once the university reaches certain benchmarks, it will be designated as a Level 2 WellSpot, working toward a Level 1 designation.

Additional information on the program can be obtained from Wood at 985-549-2131.


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