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BYU–Hawaii Health and Wellness

Two-Thirds of all illness and half of premature deaths are the result of lifestyle behaviors. In point of fact, You are the person most responsible for your health!

Recently, BYU–Hawaii called a church service missionary to coordinate health and wellness initiatives and messaging to students, faculty, and staff. In the past, some health promotion efforts have been aimed at faculty and staff through the human resources department and Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators.

Additionally, some fitness wellness courses are offered through adult continuing education. The medical department and counseling services have sought to meet the health needs of primarily the students, while those students taking classes in the exercise and physical education department have had the opportunity to study health & wellness. Also, the peacekeeping major has mindfulness and stress management components in some of their class offerings. The hope is to coordinate and offer health and wellness activities to encourage their adoption by the entire community of students, faculty, and staff and thereby hopefully foster lifelong personal health behaviors that will improve the quality and the lifespan of everyone.

Image of feet in exercise shoes walking up concrete steps

The Importance of Physical Fitness

One of the first studies to document the health benefits of exercise was the College Alumni Health Study. This study found that individuals who had participated in varsity sports in college lived longer and had healthier lives. Those graduates who took up vigorous physical activity after college also benefited. The rule of thumb is that for every hour of vigorous exercise, one can expect to add two or three hours of quality life onto his or her life. Another longitudinal study of London bus employees found that the bus drivers put on weight and had uniform pant sizes progressively growing throughout their lives, while the conductors who spent their days collecting fares while going up and down the stairs on double-decker buses maintained healthier weights and had healthier, longer lives.

Today at BYU-Hawaii, we no longer have varsity sports instilling lifelong exercise habits and most graduates and employees will have jobs demanding about the same amount of physical exertion as that of bus drivers. Along with intramurals and current healthy lifestyle messages, we need to instill an atmosphere that encourages healthy lifestyle behaviors now and into the future. Take a look at this summary:

Active and Mindful Living Can Add Years To Your Life

So what are the recommendations for:Activities – Frequency – Intensity -- Duration
image of vibrant green salad

The Importance of Diet and Nutrition

In addition to energy expenditure, a key component of healthy living regards energy consumption – we are what we eat.

The American lifestyle portrayed to the rest of the world on theatre and TV screens and in exported products is one of fast food consumption of high calorie, densely-packed carbohydrate and animal products. For the past 30 years, Americans have realized a growing epidemic of obesity in adults and children. A U.N. study released in November 2017 identified that 30% of American adults are obese. The incidence of obesity in children aged 6-19 has tripled since the 1970s, with approximately 20% of these children now obese, which is defined as more than 20% overweight.

Consequently, there is a growing epidemic of diabetes in the United States and elsewhere in the world. The same survey of obesity in the world found the Polynesian islanders as having the highest rates of obesity, with 40% of adults now obese. Now is the time for the BYU-Hawaii community to better understand healthy eating foods, diet, and portion control. Take a look at the following:

Understanding Nutrition: Eat Smart for a Healthy Heart
Healthy Living Cookbook
Image of female outdoors on a rock meditating

The Importance of Stress Management and Sleep

Another lifestyle behavior that affects health is stress management.

Most people have never been exposed to stress management techniques that can prevent the fight-or-flight response that shuts down the immune system and aggravates the cardiovascular disease. Yoga, meditation, and progressive relaxation techniques can even help reverse heart disease. Not surprisingly, the restored gospel includes all the elements needed to live a healthy and productive life.

The word of wisdom spells out key elements of diet; by the sweat of our brows shows the expectation for exercising in our workday; loving our enemies and turning the other cheek reduces stress along with meditating for direction in our lives. Other unhealthy behaviors that are becoming increasingly prevalent are depression, prescription pain-killer addiction leading to overdosing on heroin, and gun violence.

The intention of our efforts at BYU-Hawaii will be to provide opportunities and reminders to incorporate healthy lifestyle behaviors more fully in our lives. Individuals who get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night live longer and are healthier.
Image of a male and female student walking and talking

The Importance of Relationships

As the saying goes, no man is an island. Definitely, one shouldn’t try to face all of life’s challenges. We can put our trust in the Lord, but He counseled His disciples to feed His sheep and that a man and a woman should be helpmates for one another.

People who are married live longer and report having more meaningful lives. Support groups help increase the likelihood of surviving difficult circumstances and making lifestyle behavioral changes. Social media doesn’t provide support many people seek.

A recent study by faculty at BYU – Idaho found that the more time people spent on social media each day, the lonelier they reported feeling. Join groups that meet together and do things you enjoy.