According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the city of Binghamton is ranked as the third most obese city in the United States, after Memphis, Tennessee and Shreveport, Louisiana. This past April, Binghamton University joined forces with the Partnership for a Healthier America in an attempt to combat this reputation.
The Partnership for a Healthier America is an initiative to improve the health of youth nationwide by proposing ideas to solve the childhood obesity crisis. The nonprofit group was founded in 2010 with the help of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, who acted as honorary chair. The organization works with private sectors and organizations across America, including the Boys & Girls Club of America, Dick’s Sporting Goods and General Electric Healthcare.
The Partnership for a Healthier America’s most recent development is its partnership with 20 universities, including Bucknell University, Arizona State University and Binghamton University, to introduce a set of 23 goals for each institution to closely follow. Six months into the partnership, BU is keeping on track with the goals proposed and following the regulations.
According to the regulations, all campus dining services must offer at least one “wellness dish” at every meal that is relatively low in calories and includes a protein, complex carbohydrate and vegetable. Additionally, they must provide options of a minimum of five types of fruits and vegetables. Whole-grain carbohydrates are also a mandatory offering. Sodexo has begun limiting fried food products across dining halls and other retail dining services, and if dessert is served at lunch or dinner, at least three options must have fewer than 150 calories.
Other goals include making nutritional information accessible for all products served, implementing local food sustainability programs, promoting water consumption on campus and encouraging physical activity through a variety of outdoor- and indoor-wellness programs.