NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with the Man Up Health Collaborative and Mt. Zion Baptist Church to bring awareness to issues surrounding men’s health.
Members of the health collaborative, which grew out of the Men’s Health Ministry at Mt. Zion, met with TSU staff members last week to discuss plans for a new project called the Summer Men’s Health Series.
The series, which will include a One Million Steps in 100 Days campaign, kicked off June 2 with a Man-Up Men’s Health Symposium at Mt. Zion’s Antioch location and will culminate on Sept. 8 with a 5K walk/run at Tennessee State University.
Gerald Davis, TSU director of Intramural Sports and the Ralph H. Boston Wellness Center, said initiatives like this one are needed to encourage men to adopt healthier lifestyles.
“Most guys have this negative stigma about working out,” Davis said. “They think it’s all about getting bigger, stronger and faster, but when you are in your 40s and 50s, it’s just about maintaining wellness, just wanting to be in shape and do things longer without getting tired.”
Dr. Dedrick E. Moulton, associate professor of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt Medical Center and the driving force behind the effort, said the project grew out of his personal struggle to live a healthier life.
“Men don’t tend to pay much attention to their health. They will find almost anything else to do to avoid taking care of it, and I most certainly fell into that same category despite being a medical professional,” Moulton said. “What we are really looking to do is let men know that when they choose to neglect their health, it impacts more than just them. It impacts their families, their wives, their children and all their loved ones.”
Moulton said the collaborative seeks to become a “resource bank” for men hoping to live healthier lives. He said the symposium on Saturday will include blood pressure and diabetes screenings as well as interactive sessions focused on mental health and stress management, fitness and nutrition, cardiology and heart health, and developing a health checklist.
“If you attend the symposium you will see that following the medical presentation, we will have real people who will tell you how they had diagnoses and made changes,” he said. “Then we will even follow that up with fitness experts and tell you how to get started.”
According to Moulton, the One Million Steps in 100 Days campaign is based on the American Heart Association’s recommendation for people to take10,000 steps a day. He said the collaborative is encouraging men throughout Nashville to participate, especially men who attend Mt. Zion or work at TSU.
While Davis said making health changes is about taking slow steps and setting realistic goals, he also said men need to make health a priority and get sound advice, which he and his staff are ready to provide to members of the TSU community.
“It’s about challenging yourself. If you go to work at 8 a.m., you may have to get up at 5 a.m., get everybody together, come on in workout, shower and then leave,” he said. “Everybody is looking for that perfect box to fit in work and working out, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. Take a lunch break. Do it right after work. But you have got to get into a habit of doing something for your body. If not, nine times out of 10, it will come back and catch up with you.”
Davis recommended the walking/running tracks at the Hadley Park Regional Center for people who are not students or employees at the university. He said in the near future he hopes to make the wellness center available to family members of TSU employees as well as alumni.
Moulton said the group hopes men will bring their families to participate in the 5K walk/run scheduled for Sept. 8.
“It is more than just men that we are seeking to run,” he said. “We want men to run with their kids and their wives. And if you can’t run, walk with them.”
For more information about the Man Up Health Collaborative and the Summer Men’s Health Series, contact Dr. Dedrick Moulton at email@example.com.
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With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.