By Emily Jameson
This is the fifth year Mississippi, with a 35 percent obesity rate, was ranked the most obese state in the nation. That’s why a University of Mississippi group was established to educate students about wellness and nutrition.
The university’s administration built Freshii, a campus dining option with healthier food, and organized RebelWell, a program that promotes healthy behavior within the student body.
RebelWell’s mission is to encourage the university, as a whole, to live more healthful lifestyles. They provide opportunities for faculty and students to become wellness champions, or RebelWell representatives, within an organization or society, or by volunteering for different events.
RebelWell recently held a farmer’s market and healthy cooking demonstration in front of the student union. The organization brought a chef, dietician, farmers, organic food providers, and the Mississippi Mobile Farm on Wheels to provide healthy food and clean eating ideas.
“Eating healthy with a busy student schedule isn’t impossible,” said Labron Alexander, executive chef with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi at RebelWell’s Food Day Festival and Farmer’s Market. “It just takes preparation. I advise students to plan a head, make grocery lists, and avoid eating out too often.”
Alexander prepared several dishes: a ginger kale smoothie, sweet potato hummus, microwaved corn and oven fried chicken.
Dietician Brittany Simmons offered nutrition facts about the food prepared, and the duo answered any questions the audience had.
“The ginger kale smoothie they whipped up was actually very, very good,” said Christina Steube, an audience member at the demo.
RebelWell stays active on campus year-round. In the spring, they hosted a walk that took place every Wednesday for six weeks during the spring semester. Various UM leaders, including the chancellor, took the group on a walk around the Ole Miss campus, according to the RebelWell website. The university sends out student emails to promote such events.