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UGA listed among healthiest colleges in US

Healthy UGA
Students participate in an exercise class offered by UGA Recreation Services.

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia ranked fifth in a recent survey of the healthiest colleges in the U.S. The university was one of 25 selected by Greatist, an online health and fitness information source, as a school that creates “the best environment for leading a fit, healthy and happy life,” the site reads.

UGA scored well with judges for its highly rated food program, which includes nutrition counseling and dietitian-led smart-eating courses. It was also one of the only schools with dining halls open 24 hours a day.

“It is a priority of UGA Food Services to offer not only healthy food but also nutrition services so that students can make educated decisions,” said Katherine Ingerson, a registered dietitian with UGA Food Services. “Being recognized by the students is a great honor. We are always interested in student feedback as it helps us continue to increase healthy options.”

The University Health Center offers basic health, dental, dermatology and vision care, plus cooking classes and wellness workshops. UGA Recreational Sports also offers wellness programs, like the UGA Biggest Loser, which caught the attention of judges who scored schools based on comments made by students through social media.

“It is a point of pride to be considered one of the healthiest colleges in the nation,” said Stacy Connell, UGA Recreational Sports assistant director for fitness and wellness. “The fact that our wellness programming [UGA Biggest Loser] received attention from our students says a lot about what we are doing on campus.”

The wellness competition, which was held over spring semester, had a long waiting list and was only able to serve 75 participants. The program combines weight loss, body composition change, weekly workouts, healthy cooking classes, wellness presentations and fitness activities. Winners receive prizes and continued support.

“We wanted to set our participants up for success and therefore, had to limit our size in order to provide quality programming for those in the UGA Biggest Loser,” Connell said. “The waiting list speaks to the fact that our faculty, staff and students are hungry for a lifestyle change. They are ready to change their lives and are open to the wellness programming we provide here at UGA. It’s exciting to be viewed as a campus that provides these healthy living opportunities to the students and I hope that we can continue to inspire the UGA community to have a lifestyle full of health and fitness.”

Judges also looked to College Prowler and The Princeton Review to identify which universities had the highest student satisfaction. Looking at food, fitness, health services and programming, schools were graded based on accessibility and innovativeness as well as the quality of those services.

Topping the healthiest college list were the University of California, Los Angeles; Stanford University; the University of North Dakota; and Colby College, in that order.

For the full report, see For a video about the UGA Biggest Loser program, see