Duke’s campus is just a little bit healthier this year, thanks to the first annual Prospective Health Challenge.
Friday afternoon marked the end of the Prospective Health Challenge, a year-long competition developed by the Duke Prospective Health Care Club in which students and employees teamed up to improve their health and take greater responsibility for their lifestyles. Teams earned points toward the challenge by maintaining or making improvements in areas such as weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, diet and exercise. At the awards ceremony Friday, senior Kevin Chen and sophomore Nancy Yang, DPHCC co-chairs, reviewed the challenge and announced the eight winners of this year’s competition.
This year, junior Justine Tiu and Layne Baker, visitor and university relations specialist for Duke Chapel, took the grand prize for best team. Sophomore Nari Sohn and freshman Christine Wu won as the top individual students, and Nicole Greeson, Occupational and Environmental Safety Offices employee, and Housekeeping Supervisor Keith Wooten, achieved the top spots for individual employees.
“I lost a lot of weight,” Sohn said. “I think I am eating more healthily, and I’m exercising more regularly. Because I am doing that, it makes me feel healthier and better about myself.”
Participants used an electronic point system to report each week how well they had met their health goals, and points were awarded and totaled each month to determine the winners. Top scorers received prizes such as tickets to the Duke-UNC basketball game and gift certificates to Northgate Mall.
Throughout the year, the Prospective Health Challenge hosted events such as a five-kilometer run/walk. At the ceremony, Libby Gulley, nurse manager for Live for Life, Duke’s employee health promotion program, and Amy Eller, the marketing team leader for Durham Whole Foods, offered their congratulations to the participants for completing these events and to the club for organizing the challenge. They also shared tips about how to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“This is such an ambitious program, and it resulted in an amazing first effort,” Gulley said. “The whole time, we kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe they are going to pull this off.’ But they did.”
Initially, 100 participants signed up for the challenge, and although approximately 15 to 20 regularly participated by the end of the year, those who completed the challenge feel like they have made lasting changes to their health habits.
Most participants felt that the challenge was successful overall, a sentiment echoed by Chen and Yang, although they still had their ups and downs.
“We have not quite had the level of participation we were aiming for,” Chen said. “There are a lot of things we are going to do to change it for next year. But even so, we have definitely had a lot of success stories in terms of improving people’s health.”
The DPHCC is already organizing next year’s challenge, which it hopes to start in the Fall.
“We are working with a lot of different technologies to make it more fun and interactive for next year,” Chen said. “We are also going to plan a lot more events to go along with the challenge.”
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