Program is to help fight weight gains


Dietitian Tina Freiwald presents nutritional information to students.

Taylor Fowler, Features Editor

A new Pitt-Johnstown program is being offered to help students fight weight gain associated with college life.

Health and Wellness Office and Sodexo staff members are sponsoring a new Real World Action Program elective called “Beat the Freshman 15.”

The program title derives from the common expression regarding weight gain of first-year college students due to a new independence with food, called the freshman 15.

According to Health and Wellness Office Executive director Theresa Horner, the program is a healthy campus initiative.

“The initiative was launched to address a variety of health and wellness needs in the college population,” she said.

The eight-week program consists of mandatory weekly weigh-ins, a personalized training program and   personal training sessions to address individual fitness needs.

Students in attendance are to set a goal for themselves relating to weight loss, regular exercise or eating habits.

“The ultimate goal of the program is to educate participants about healthy food choices, the importance of diet and exercise and to help them achieve personal weight-management goals,” Horner said.

Weekly meetings are one hour and include discussions on health topics relevant to college aged students.

At the end of each meeting, students have the opportunity to request a topic to be discussed the following week.

Meetings currently take place 4 p.m. Tuesdays in the Cambria Room. They are conducted by dietitian Tina Freiwald.

According to Horner, Freiwald was chosen because of her experience with college students and her easy-going personality.

Freiwald has been a dietitian for 30 years and has worked at Windber Medical Center, the Johnstown YMCA and nursing homes.

“(With this program) I hope (the students) understand the connection between lifestyle choices and living long,” she said.

Freiwald said it is important that students follow what they set their mind to.

“The goal is to do it,” she said. “Not try to do it, but do it.”

To aid in motivation, students have the opportunity to win prizes when they attend meetings.

Freshman Kelsey Shealer was one of the four students in attendance Oct. 8. She said the freshman 15 is a big fear.

“I want to stay healthy and better myself,” she said. “This (program) will help.”

A program brochure said this is the first time Pitt-Johnstown has introduced the Freshman 15 program to campus. If successful, it is to return spring semester.