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UVM, UMaine partner for Online weight management course

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first_imgThe University of Maine and the University of Vermont are joining forces this fall to offer a research-based online weight management course that helps college students develop healthy eating and exercise habits.”Vtrim Online” is a one-credit, semester-long course based on clinical research by Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., a nationally recognized obesity researcher at the University of Vermont. Her concept is based on behavior changes: a systematic shaping of daily habits to help people move more and eat less.”There is a groundswell nationwide for universities to provide preventative health programming to students,” says Harvey-Berino. “It’s an ideal time in their lives to learn healthy eating behaviors for long-term health and earn college credit, too.”Vtrim arms students with the tactics and knowledge to sustainably combat weight gain through behavior modification — altering reactions to emotional and environmental stimuli through reinforcement of a new behavior, or a reduction in unhealthy behaviors. The University of Vermont has offered Vtrim since 2009.The entire program takes place online. Students are guided by a trained instructor, with whom they meet online weekly for a class in which lessons are discussed in a structured text-based chat room. Individual progress is tracked with online tools, including a food journal and exercise tracker. Students receive expert feedback on their progress.At UMaine, Rod Bushway and Susan Sullivan of the Food Science and Human Nutrition faculty and Ph.D. student Doug Mathews have worked to make the class available to students at UMaine.”We expect a great deal of student interest in the course,” Sullivan says. “Vtrim provides a good opportunity for UMaine students to learn about behavior modification techniques while benefiting their own health.”Though some students sign up to lose weight, most enroll to learn healthy behaviors. Students work with instructors to set realistic goals and establish healthy lifestyle perspectives.Typical weight loss has been 1-2 pounds per week for students in previous classes and 83 percent of people completing Vtrim achieve a clinically meaningful weight loss of 5-10 percent.Obesity continues to grow as a public health problem. Obesity prevalence is 19.1 percent for men and women aged 18-29 years, according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and obesity rates increased in 28 states in 2009, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.”The University of Maine is proud to be part of a solution to the escalating trend of obesity and unhealthy eating and exercise habits,” says Robert C. White, associate provost and dean of the University of Maine’s Division of Lifelong Learning. Vtrim is being offered through the division’s continuing and distance education program.The course is open to all degree and non-degree students.http://www.uvm.edu/vtrim/vtrim-for-undergrads/(link is external).SOURCE University of Vermont. ORONO, Maine, Aug. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more