Healthy Habits by Environmental Health

 

Teacher and students on top of mountain

Koturbash (left) reunites with two of his former Medical School colleagues on the top of the Blue Mountain in Eastern Carpathian Mountains (Ukraine) in July of 2019.

Physical activity is one of the major pillars of health and longevity. Research indicates that physical activity is a main preventative measure against the development of metabolic syndrome and associated obesity, cardiovascular disease, and many other diseases. Recent studies also indicate that physical activity is a critical factor cancer therapy and one of the determinants of cancer survivorship.

With COVID-19 quarantines and other restrictions, activity levels for many of us were restricted in the last year. Indeed, not only the indoor gyms, pools, and exercise classes were suspended, but even closed state parks significantly reduced the viable options for staying active. Now, with many restrictions being lifted, it is time to reassess existing options and reintroduce healthy habits into our daily routines.

Boysen (upfront) and the fully vaccinated Department celebrates their first group hike in the spring of 2021.

Boysen (upfront) and the fully vaccinated Department celebrates their first group hike in the spring of 2021.

Mindful of the role of our interaction with the environment, the faculty and staff of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the UAMS College of Public Health initiated a challenge called “Healthy Habits by Environmental Health.” The goal of this program is to deliver the message of the importance of life factors, such as physical activity and proper nutrition, in shaping our state of health and, subsequently, our quality of life. Being true advocates for the active life style, the department hopes that others at UAMS will pick up this challenge to further promote healthy life choices among UAMS employees, students, patients, and, ultimately all Arkansans.   

Here, we will share some stories we hope will inspire others to help achieve our ultimate goal: to make Arkansas the healthiest state in the region.  

 

    Healthy Habits - Hot summer is not an excuse!

    September 27, 2021 | Nikiya Simpson

    While summer in Arkansas may often restrict options for physical activity, our department strives to achieve our goals even in these conditions. For example, Education II (ED II) building’s 9th floor walking route offers a unique opportunity to decompress and walk a mile or two during our lunch break while visiting with colleagues. Department of…

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    Healthy Habits - Children see – children do

    September 27, 2021 | Nikiya Simpson

    It is an open secret that we are programming our children for their future habits, as children often inherit behavioral patterns from their parents. Therefore, priming our children for healthy choices since childhood is an ultimate goal of our department. Ping-Ching Hsu with her son Lucas (9) playing tennis at Little Rock Reservoir Park (Little…

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    Healthy Habits with Stefanie Kennon-McGill and Mitchell McGill

    September 27, 2021 | Nikiya Simpson

    Stefanie Kennon-McGill, Ph.D., and Mitchell McGill, PH.D. (Assistant Professors) Since graduate school, we both have enjoyed running. It is also how we met each other. One of the most memorable races to us was the 2013 Diabetes Dash for Life, a 5-kilometer race in Kansas City, which benefitted the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes…

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    Healthy Habits with Gunnar Boysen

    September 27, 2021 | Nikiya Simpson

    Gunnar Boysen, Ph.D. (Associate Professor) My main pastime is cross country skiing. Every year in February, I go to northern Wisconsin and participate in the American Birkebeiner ski marathon, a 50 km long and 5000 ft. elevation gain event.  It is basically like skiing from Little Rock to Conway while taking the hilly route. To…

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    Healthy Habits with Tung-chin Chiang

    September 27, 2021 | Nikiya Simpson

    Tung-chin Chiang, Ph.D., MPH (Assistant Professor) My Ph.D. advisor at Tulane University always tells others that Tung-chin collected degrees! After a warming southern experience at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), I became a Tar Heels fan and cheered for University of North Carolina (UNC). The best experience in at UAB and UNC was…

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    Healthy Habits from Jay Gandy

    September 27, 2021 | Nikiya Simpson

    Jay Gandy, Ph.D. (Professor and Associate Provost for the UAMS NWA Campus) My wife, Lisa, and I have been avid cyclists for many years. We ride with several different cycling clubs and typically ride our road bikes about 100-150 miles a week. Last year we purchased gravel bikes and have really enjoyed exploring the gravel…

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    Healthy Habits from Chris Fettes

    August 19, 2021 | Nikiya Simpson

    Christopher Fettes, MA (Instructor and Program Coordinator, recipient of the COPH Best Staff Excellence Award, 2021) After I graduated college and started working in an office, I took an interest in running for exercise to compensate for lower levels of activity. I ran with several coworkers during our lunch breaks, and soon one of them suggested we attend an interest…

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