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About Memphis Healthy U


The University of Memphis wants to promote healthy living through a healthy environment for its students, employees and visitors.

The Memphis Healthy U initiative is designed to encourage students, employees, and visitors to eat healthier, move more, and become tobacco free.


Tennessee ranks 2nd in the U.S. for adult obesity (32%).

We rank 4th in the U.S. for inactivity.

We rank 5th in the U.S. for adult hypertension.

We rank 5th in the U.S. for tobacco usage (23% of current adults smoke).

The Surgeon General of the U.S. had determined that tobacco smoking is the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disability.

Even occasional exposure to tobacco smoke by a non-smoker can increase the incidence of coronary heart disease by 58%.

Most chronic disease risk can be reduced by lifestyle changes, such as increased physical activity, healthy diet, and tobacco-free lifestyles.

According to the2011 Core Alcohol and Drug Survey, University of Memphis nearly 70% of student respondents had not used tobacco in the last year.

University of Memphis data obtained at a Student Health Fair (October 2011) indicate:

  • 47.3% of those measured were overweight or obese
  • 42% of systolic blood pressure measurements were pre-hypertensive or hypertensive
  • 30% of diastolic blood pressure measurements were pre-hypertensive or hypertensive

Call to Action

In 2010 a Tobacco-Free Initiative was introduced by students through the Student Government Association. Subsequently, the Faculty and Staff Senates each passed similar resolutions.

In 2011, at the request of President Shirley Raines and led by Provost Ralph Faudree, a committee was formed representing the School of Public Health, Department of Health and Sports Sciences, Student Health Services, Loewenberg School of Nursing, and the Department of Human Resources. The committee was charged with developing a healthy campus initiative.

Termed Memphis Healthy U, the initiative has three action components: move more, eat healthier, and be tobacco free.

Committee Goals

1) Create awareness of campus opportunities to lead a healthy lifestyle

2) Coordinate collaborative efforts to support healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free lifestyles among university departments, organizations, and vendors.

3) Provide environmental support for adoption of healthy lifestyles

Strategic Activities

1) Partner with Aramark Campus Food Service to highlight healthy, affordable dining options

2) Feature convenient, enjoyable venues for physical activity (increased use of stairs, walking trails, and Recreation Center

3) Support limited tobacco use as a campus policy

4) Provide attractive incentives for students, employees, and visitors to adopt healthy behaviors