NMSU Extension faculty participating in nationwide student health research

New Mexico State University is one of several schools participating in the USDA grant-funded Fruved project based at the University of Tennessee, but NMSU researchers are hoping to use some of the data to determine how healthy NMSU students are.

Fruved, which is short for fruits and vegetables, began in 2014 with four intervention and four control schools, and has since expanded to 90 campuses nationwide. This year, NMSU received a $3,000 mini-grant from the Fruved project to be a control school. Students living at Garcia Hall were asked in participate in surveys about their nutrition, physical activity, sleep and stress levels while being treated to a healthy breakfast.

Lourdes Olivas, an associate faculty member of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ Extension Family and Consumer Sciences department, said audits were also conducted of the Taos Restaurant and Frenger Food Court to determine how healthy those campus dining options are, and audits were also conducted on recreational services and facilities on campus. Surveys were also given to department heads, deans and other campus administrators about their perceptions of what should change in order to have a more healthy campus.

Olivas said participation in Fruved has led her to create the Thrive program, which features informational sessions to teach students about proper nutrition, exercise, stress management and financial wellness.

Being involved in the Fruved project is part of the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service’s mission to provide community outreach.

Connor Hudson, a dietetic internship student at New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, looks over a sample of a survey given to students this fall at Garcia Hall as part of the Fruved project. New Mexico State University is one of several schools participating in the USDA grant-funded Fruved project based at the University of Tennessee, but NMSU researchers are hoping to use some of the data to determine how healthy NMSU students are.