WSSU students get active during the course Lifestyle Behaviors for a Healthy Heart, which was developed through a National Institutes of Health research grant. (September 2017 file photo)

Everyone has heard about “the freshman 15.” However, a Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) researcher is hoping to expose the myth and help college students avoid the weight-gain trap.

“Everybody’s pushing ‘the freshman 15,’ and they’re saying it in a way that’s believable,” says Dr. Vanessa Duren-Winfield, clinical associate professor of healthcare management and director of research for the School of Health Sciences at WSSU. “We’re trying to dispel this myth. We want to deliver a different message.”

In 2016, Drs. Vanessa Duren-Winfield and Amanda Price (principal investigators) created an evidence-based research course, Lifestyle Behaviors for a Healthy Heart, that introduces WSSU students to the fundamentals of cardiovascular health, wellness, fitness and healthy lifestyle behaviors. The unique course was developed through a $351,185 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center on Minority Health and Disparities, and will be offered for a third time this fall to about 30 students, mostly freshmen. It's part of an initiative at WSSU called Rams Have Heart

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Originally published August 2018.

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