MTSU continues ‘Blue Raider Drink Up’ program with $450,000 state grant

MURFRESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services is expanding its diabetes and obesity prevention activities with additional state funding.

The Tennessee Department of Health, through the Project Diabetes initiative, awarded the center a three-year, $450,000 grant for its existing “Blue Raiders Drink Up: Healthy Choices for Healthy Students 2.0” program.

Through the MTSU program, students can learn the importance of healthy beverage choices, reduce consumption of sugary drinks, have the opportunity to participate in cooking classes, receive one-on-one counseling with a dietitian or health coach, and participate to a fitness program as well as various educational events on campus.

Under the first three-year grant, the center’s BRDU program reached more than 3,700 students, of whom more than 300 participated in cooking classes, more than 650 engaged in one-on-one counseling and 2,722 others participated in filing events, social media outreach and online programming.

New aspects of BRDU 2.0 include the development of a Retail Choices Task Force to assess retail policies across the country and a new partnership with MTSU’s Student Food Pantry to offer healthy items. In addition, additional water filling stations will be installed on campus.

“We are so excited to start another three-year project with Project Diabetes to implement these activities on our campus,” said Cynthia Chafin, Associate Director of Community Programs for CHHS.

“The foundations of BRDU 2.0 activities will use evidence-based, evidence-informed program and implementation components that have been adapted to the MTSU campus, and will build on the three years of successful programming that are coming to an end. “

According to the 2020 State of Childhood Obesity Report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Tennessee has the fourth highest obesity rate among high school students in the nation. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the obesity trend continues into adulthood with 35.6% of adults reporting being obese in 2020.

The CDC says limiting the consumption of sugary drinks will help people maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy diet, helping them avoid obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, dental caries, cavities and gout.

MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services seeks to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans and initiates and strengthens university programs to support workforce development and promote healthy communities. The center is primarily funded by external sources and has received over $11 million over the years.

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