Health departments around campus celebrated National Health Education Week (NHEW) from Oct. 21 to 25.
The goal of NHEW is to raise awareness of issues in public health and promote understanding of health education. It was started in 1995 by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE).
“National Health Education Week seeks to promote healthy behaviors to improve the overall well-being of the communities we live in,” sophomore Gabriele Sundelius said. “This week is a great opportunity to reach out to health educators to ask questions and to learn more about how one can improve their quality of life.”
The public health major, health promotion and wellness major and the Public Health Club are sponsoring awareness events.
The theme for NHEW 2019 is “Elevating Health for All.” Each day of the week has a different topic of focus. This year’s topics include advocacy for health, celebrating SOPHE, school health, digital health and health equity.
Students in the public health, exercise science and health promotion and wellness majors as well as Jeff Marsee, associate professor of kinesiology, were available to answer questions on Tuesday and Thursday in the Student Center and Dining Commons.
They hoped to be able to share information about healthy behaviors such as sleep, managing anxiety, physical activity and more.
Marsee, the coordinator of this week, said being healthy takes work. Especially as college students, people need to be intentional about food choices, sleep habits, exercise and handling stress and loneliness.
“College students are vulnerable to many of the bad health habits which affect society as a whole,” Marsee said. “Health Education tries to influence the health behavior of individuals and communities in a positive way as well as the living and working conditions which influence their lives and health promotion enables people to increase control over their own health.
Bob Aronson, director and associate professor of public health, also related the importance of this week back to 1890-1891 Taylor student Dr. Alice Hamilton.
Hamilton was the first female faculty member at Harvard and a proponent for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“There are actions we can take to improve our health as well as the overall health of the community,” said Aronson. “While some voluntary behavior changes can benefit the individual making the change, sometimes we need social, environmental and policy changes to impact health problems.”
Sundelius encourages students to be curious, challenge themselves and reflect on their well-being.
She has found that taking steps toward living a healthier life allows her to enjoy life to the fullest.
“Taylor is a community in which we seek to serve others in all we do and say,” Sundelius said. “When we take care of our health, taking action on the things we can control, we stop focusing on the things we cannot. This opens the door for a greater opportunity to serve those around us.”