RebelWell works to make Ole Miss and Mississippi healthier


By Briana Barnes

University of Mississippi junior Katrina Dickerson is trying to stay on track with clean eating and healthy living. That’s why she is involved in a campus program called RebelWell that helps students and faculty get and stay healthy.

“RebelWell really helped me to realize that the things I was putting into my body were not healthy,” Dickerson said. “After meeting with a dietician, I know what to eat on and off campus to keep my body at its healthiest level.”

Mississippi is often ranked at the bottom of health studies in the United States, but RebelWell, formerly known as HealthWorks, is working to change that.

Mariana Anaya, registered dietician at the University of Mississippi, said RebelWell is a wellness program designed to support employees and students in adopting and sustaining healthy habits that reduce health risk, enhance personal effectiveness and improve quality of life.

Blue Cross Blue Shield provides grants for various schools across Mississippi to have a wellness program. Last year, the grant awarded to the University of Mississippi made it possible for the university to coordinate RebelWell and staff a dietician.

The grant also provided funding for rental bikes to be placed on the campus, and RebelWell officials expect to add stretch machines in the future.

“The goal of the program is to create healthier communities starting with the university environment through various nutrition programs and physical activity,” Anaya said.

Anaya’s personal goal is to create awareness for proper nutrition and health at the university and throughout Mississippi as a whole.

University of Mississippi faculty receive two free visits to meet with a dietician, and students have no limitations on the number of visits.

RebelWell publishes a nutrition tip of the week in UMToday, offers Healthy Eating Walking tours every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. and a six-week Fall Walking Challenge. The program also raises student awareness about the food choices on campus.

The program promotes awareness and education, provides motivation for positive behavior changes and influences campus practices and policies to support a healthy environment.

RebelWell will offer two more food demonstrations for the spring semester. One is Friday, March 27, and the other is Friday, April 17. Both are scheduled to take IMG_7622place from 2-2:30 p.m. in the Lenoir Dining Hall on the University of Mississippi campus.

For now, RebelWell is only available to faculty and students of the university, but the ultimate goal is to move outward and strengthen the community of Oxford before moving on to Mississippi as a whole.

Dickerson said she has noticed significant improvement in her health since following the guidelines and tips introduced to her by RebelWell.

“My good eating habits have even rubbed off on my family and friends,” she said. “If we cook or go out and I don’t eat it, neither will they.

Dickerson said she is proud of her progress and the change in her family and friends’ diets. She believes the RebelWell program is underrated.

“They are great at what they do, and more people should get involved in the program,” she said.

For more information, contact Anaya at 662-915-2081

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