Texas Tech Fitness Program Receives State Honor

DATE: April 17, 2006
CONTACT: Scott Slemmons, scott.slemmons@ttu.edu
(806) 742-2136

LUBBOCK - A campus-wide fitness program at Texas Tech University has been selected as one of the recipients of a statewide award.

F.I.T Tech (Fitness, Information and Technology) was named one of ten recipients of the 2006 Nutrition and Physical Activity Best Practices Recognition Program award by the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program.

F.I.T. Tech will be recognized at the 2006 Texas Public Health Association Annual Conference, “Healthy Communities: the Big Picture,” in Plano on Monday (April 24), during a session on “Innovative Community Projects.” F.I.T. Tech was selected to be one of three programs to give an oral presentation at the conference.

The state's recognition program is designed to identify innovative and effective nutrition and physical activity interventions aimed at obesity reduction and prevention.

Since F.I.T. Tech’s inception in the Spring of 2005, more than 1,400 staff, faculty and students have participated, walking the equivalent of 140,000 miles. Participants organize into teams with six to eight members. Being part of a team adds to each member’s motivation and accountability. Team members count walking, biking, swimming or other physical activities. All activities are converted to an equivalent number of miles walked. In addition to physical activity, participants attend weekly fitness seminars featuring practical tips on how to improve nutrition and physical activity practices.

Debra Reed, professor and Helen DeVitt Jones Chair in Texas Tech's Department of Nutrition, Hospitality and Retailing, said the program has succeeded by making good nutrition and physical activity fun.

"Kickoff, midway and final recognition events made F.I.T. Tech fun and helped to create awareness," said Reed. "And a big key to the success of F.I.T. Tech has been the support of the university's administration and the active involvement of Texas Tech's First Lady Jennifer Whitmore."

Participants agree that F.I.T. Tech has helped them to meet fitness and weight goals. Noel Parsons, a member of the TTUP Bookies, hiked seven miles in Big Bend National Park, and said, “I couldn’t have done the hike without doing the F.I.T. Tech program first. In fact, I probably couldn’t have made the first quarter-mile.”

Melissa Orrell, doctoral student and assistant captain for the Red to Black F.I.T.Tech Team, said, “We got together for a six-mile hiking outing last weekend at Palo Duro Canyon…. this program has been (great) in getting people together, out and about trying to get in better health.”

Monica Hicks, team member from the Mathematics Department, said, “My participation in the F.I.T. Tech program helped me lose 20 pounds.”

The F.I.T. Tech website (www.ttu.edu/fittech) provides a mechanism for sharing additional nutrition and physical activity information via links to reputable sources. It also showcases weekly winners and success stories.

During the week of April 24 – 28, F.I.T. Tech will host several events including salsa dancing, a pre-Arbor Day stretch, several walking opportunities and seminars by Robert Sweetgall (“the original Forrest Gump”) who has walked across the United States seven times.

CONTACT: Debra Reed, professor and Helen DeVitt Jones Chair, Department of Nutrition, Hospitality and Retailing, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3068, or e-mail debra.reed@ttu.edu.