Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, June 21, 2010

Active U continues to grow; participants log 18 million activity minutes

Active U’s fifth year proved to be the program’s biggest, with more than 11,300 university faculty and staff logging more than 18 million physical-activity minutes — nearly 2,000 more participants and two million more minutes than last year.

“We love that Active U continues to have a loyal following that seems to grow every year,” says LaVaughn Palma-Davis, senior director, Health and Well-Being Services. “This program is really helping to create a culture of health at the university. Participants tell us they participate every year because of the team camaraderie and motivation they get from their co-workers.”

Palma-Davis says several factors play into the increased participation, including the fact that this year’s Active U was eligible for MHealthy’s new Rewards program, which awards a $100 before-tax incentive to benefits-eligible faculty and staff that complete a health questionnaire and two healthy activities. “Thousands of Active U participants completed the program and earned points towards receiving the $100 incentive,” Palma-Davis says.

Based on participant feedback, MHealthy also expanded Active U from 10 weeks to 12 weeks. “We added two weeks to last year’s program but continued to hear from participants that just when they were really getting comfortable with exercising regularly, Active U ended,” says Colleen Greene, MHealthy wellness coordinator. “So, we added two more weeks and people really rose to the challenge and kept moving.”

Greene says although Active U has ended, the online Physical Activity tracker is available year-round at https://trackers.mhealthy.org/activity.

“We have thousands of people who are already in the habit of logging their exercise and we want to keep that momentum going,” Greene says. “And Active U participants who are doing MHealthy Rewards can track for another 12 weeks to earn more Reward points.”

Benefiting from Active U’s strong following are several charities chosen by randomly selected teams and individuals representing each university campus. The following charities or nonprofits will receive part of the nearly $14,000 donated by participants this year:

• American Cancer Society
• Food Gatherers — Ann Arbor
• Humane Society of Huron Valley
• March of Dimes Michigan Chapter
• SafeHouse — Ann Arbor
• St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
• Taking Action for Friends, Family & Youth
• U-M Emergency Hardship Program

Active U team standings and division winners are based on average activity minutes per team member. Division winners include:

• Big House division — AEC Exercisers
• Blue division — Team Ibuprofen
• Diag division — AOAO
• Fieldhouse division — Prop-Paleo
• Go Blue division — MKT and Love and Gym
• Maize division — Mezzanine Maniacs
• The Rock division — Team Pletcher
• Union division — Ultimate Assets
• Varsity division — Hard Core Four +1
• Victors division — All-In-To-Win
• Wolverines division — FANS-Diet Office Divas
• Wolves division — Not aMAISing, It’s Phenomenal!