Seton Hall Students Create Program to Fight Obesity

As part of a national public relations competition, SHU students created 'STEPS to a healthier you.'

With childhood obesity becoming a bigger problem in society today, a group of Seton Hall University public relations students are looking to help find a solution.  As part of the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) nationwide case study, with the support of United Way Worldwide , the students have created a campaign initiative called ‘STEPS (Small Transformations Equal Powerful Strides) to a Healthier You.’

STEPS is a program that encourages families to commit themselves to a healthier lifestyle.  The students, who have named their group Impulse IMC (integrated marketing communication), have been testing the initiative with fourth and seventh grade classes at Union’s Holy Spirit Catholic school and so far Impulse IMC has been pleased with the program’s reaction.

“(The kids) have been very enthusiastic about what we are doing,” Seton Hall student Sarah Olsen told Patch.  “We always end our discussions by asking “have you learned anything?”  They always raise their hands saying they have learned something…We got a really good response from the kids which is our main point of what we are trying to hit.”

The campaign has had two major initiatives in the past week.  They had a table at the Prudential Center during Seton Hall’s game on Feb. 25 against in-state rival, Rutgers University, where they had a 50/50 raffle and a raffle for a basket of Seton Hall apparel.  The group partnered with Seton Hall Athletics to conduct a community outreach at the game by handing out pamphlets about the campaign as well as shoe laces to go along with their logo, an orange and white shoe.  In addition, they sold pedometers to help raise funds for future programs.

Then the next stop was to Holy Spirit on Feb. 28, where they brought along South Orange chef Laura Nichols, chef and owner of the Blue Plate Special, gave a presentation to the students on how to make healthier after-school snacks.

“Many children don’t get the chance to taste these different sorts of foods, people working in the stores that sell them many times have never even tried them,” said Nichols in a statement released by STEPS. “Explaining the ways that these really nutritious foods can be combined with foods the children eat regularly, that don’t necessarily have the same nutritional value, is what proves to be the most effective way to change their eating habits.”

The students were explained the ways to replace foods they usually go to grab after school such as chips, sugary cereals and cookies, with foods that had the same salty or sweet taste with the added nutrition. 

For more information on STEPS, Like 'STEPS to a healthier you' on Facebook or visit their blog at http://stepstoahealthieryou.wordpress.com/.


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