North East Connected

Help to keep students healthy

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 15.02.55All new students joining Teesside University this autumn will be offered a ‘health MOT’ throughout their higher education career.

The new programme will see all undergraduate students able to sign up to a have their diet, exercise and lifestyle regularly monitored to signpost any related issues which could impact on their health.

All data gathered by School of Science & Engineering’s BSc (Hons) Food and Nutrition students, who are running the scheme, will be fed back to each individual to recommend how to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

Dr Laura Brown, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition, Food and Health Sciences, said: “The Health MOT is a free, bespoke service tailored towards the needs of students to offer individual guidance on diet, alcohol, sleep and exercise patterns.

“It has been designed by food and nutrition students, who will deliver the sessions. It is initially a pilot project to obtain an idea of how popular the scheme might be.”

Dr Brown added: “Each participant who signs up to take part in the scheme will be invited to attend monthly checks on their blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat percentage and BMI. They will also have their diet, alcohol consumption, sleep patterns and exercise patterns monitored.

“The aim is to help students to be aware of their own personal health, while thinking about lifestyle, physical activity, stress levels and diet. It takes a holistic approach, while also helping to signpost any issues such as high blood pressure, when they would be encouraged to see their GP.”

Dr Brown added: “Students can participate in this study for the entire duration of their degree. We will also be working with Student Services as any outcomes from the results can be used to help inform what we already do to help keep our students healthy.”

Data collected through this scheme will be used to help tailor services and support provided for students.

During each year of the programme, two final year BSc (Hons) Food and Nutrition students will research the results gathered as part of their dissertation project. The first students to be involved in the study are Zoe Johnston and Rebecca Bligh, who start their final year this autumn.

Alongside this scheme, students from the BSc (Hons) Food and Nutrition are also currently running a smaller-scale scheme for staff and current students, with fortnightly checks on body weight, body fat, blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure to enable participants to keep a personal record and track any changes.

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