The Ohio State University joins Partnership for a Healthier America to offer healthier choices for students

The Ohio State University is among the first schools to join the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA honorary chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier, in a three-year commitment to make its campus healthier by adopting guidelines around food and nutrition, and physical activity and programming.

 “We are excited to be one of the first universities to join Partnership for a Healthier America in promoting health and wellness on college campuses,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN, associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “At Ohio State, we are very committed to our vision of becoming the healthiest university in the world, and our new partnership with PHA is one strategy that will help us achieve that goal.”

The announcement was made Sunday, November 16, at the American Public Health Association (APHA)’s 2014 Annual Meeting & Exposition. PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative includes 19 other colleges and universities, collectively impacting more than 500,000 students and 126,000 faculty and staff.

 “Colleges and universities are in a unique position to help shape tomorrow’s leaders, whether they are teachers, coaches, policymakers, CEOs, moms or dads,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “We know that going to college is a time of change for many students—we also know that means it’s a time when new habits are formed. By creating healthier food and physical activity environments today, campuses and universities are encouraging healthier habits that will carry over into tomorrow.”

Ohio State has agreed to implement the following guidelines over the next three years:

OSU will implement the following food and nutrition guidelines:

Provide healthier food and beverage services in campus-operated dining venues every operational day.

  1. Offer on the menu a minimum of one wellness meal at each breakfast, lunch and dinner meal (if served).
  2. Offer a minimum of five types of fruits, five types of vegetables and two 100 percent whole grain products at both lunch and dinner (if served).
  3. Offer only a total number of fried foods that does not exceed the total number of platforms available at both lunch and dinner (if served) across all venues.
  4. Offer and identify as healthier at point of presentation at least three desserts at both lunch and dinner (if served) that have less than or equal to 150 calories as served.
  5. Ensure the percentage of healthier beverage purchase (in dollars) is a minimum of 60 percent of total beverage purchases (in dollars).
  6. Identify food and beverage items using one of the following strategies:
  7. Label food and beverage items offered with calories per serving at the point of presentation.


Designate healthier food and beverage options using a health icon at point of presentation.

  1. Implement a comprehensive, strategic product placement/merchandising program/policy within dining venues to encourage healthier food consumption. The program/policy will include a minimum of five strategies, one of which is:
  2. Offer only healthier food and beverage options within five feet of payment stations.
  3. Offer a plant-based food option at every platform serving meat.

Implement local food or sustainability program in campus food service:

  1. Implement a local food procurement program that increases procurement of local and sustainable foods.
  2. Offer tray-less dining as the default system in at least 75 percent of dining venues.

Provide healthier vending options on campus:

  1. Ensure that a minimum of 50 percent of vending machines offer only healthier food and beverage products or 50 percent of each vending machine content is healthier food and beverage products.
  2. Provide healthier catering services on campus.
  3. Offer one of the following healthier catering menu options:
  4. Offer a minimum of three types of fruits, three types of vegetables, two 100 percent whole grain products and no more than two fried items on catering menus.


Ensure the percentage of healthier beverage purchases (in dollars) is a minimum of 60 percent of total beverage purchases (in dollars) for catering.

Promote water consumption on campus:

Make free water available in all dining venues and all educational/physical activity facilities.

Provide trained food and nutrition professionals on campus:

Make available registered dietitian nutritionists for personal nutrition assessments and counseling to all students.

OSU will implement the following physical activity/movement guidelines:

Create a built environment that encourages healthier choices on campus:

  1. Provide marked walking routes on campus, one of which must be at least two miles in length and have distance markers at regular intervals. A route map is made available to individuals on campus.
  2. Post signage requiring cars to stop for pedestrians at all designated or marked crosswalks on campus.
  3. Provide at least one bicycle parking space on campus for every 15 individuals on campus.
  4. Offer a bicycle share/rental program and/or a subsidized bicycle purchase program for all students.
  5. Provide designated bicycle lanes on major roads and/or offer off-street bicycle paths throughout campus.
  6. Implement a bicycle and pedestrian accommodation policy, and/or participate in a national bicycle or pedestrian recognition program.
  7. Implement a campus-wide program/policy that incentivizes the use of public or campus provided transportation.

Encourage student physical activity/movement through facilities and programs on campus during the academic year:

  1. Provide, without a user fee, 16 hours per day access to at least one fitness/recreation center for all students.
  2. Offer a minimum of 20 diverse recreation, physical activity/movement or competitive sports opportunities during each academic year.
  3. Offer, without a user fee, a minimum of one monthly “how to” physical activity/movement class that introduces students to new activities.
  4. Offer at least one organized and facilitated 15 minute physical activity/movement opportunity break on each school day.
  5. Offer, without a user fee, both:

Fitness/recreation center orientation during the first semester for all incoming students and one fitness assessment to all students each academic year.

Encourage outdoor physical activity/movement on campus:

  1. Provide at least one running/walking track that is open and available for use to individuals on campus and the community for at least three hours per day.
  2. Provide an outdoor fitness system.
  3. Offer at least one free, organized and facilitated, outdoor physical activity/movement opportunity each week.
  4. Offer a rental outdoor recreation equipment program for students.

Provide trained physical activity/movement professionals on campus:

Make available certified personal trainers for all students.

OSU will implement the following check programming guidelines:

  1. Implement an integrated, comprehensive wellness program for individuals on campus that is provided annually. The program will include all of the following components:
  2. A coordinating committee that includes student, faculty, administrative and staff representatives and meets at least quarterly.
  3. Health and wellness education and activities for all individuals with disabilities.
  4. A promotion plan to market the wellness program through at least one online venue and three physical venues on campus.
  5. Provision of annual physical activity/movement and nutrition training for all resident assistants to help them inform students about campus resources available for wellness.

Offer other wellness programs on campus:

  1. Implement a mandatory health and wellness education online module to be completed by all incoming first year or transfer students, upon registering with the college or university.
  2. Implement a program/policy that identifies students who may be food insecure and provides options on campus.
  3. Implement a program/policy that supports and accommodates breastfeeding for mothers on campus.
  4. Implement a service-learning program available to all students that focuses on food and nutrition, physical activity/movement and/or coaching.
  5. Offer a rewards-on-benefits structured program that gives insurance premium discounts and/or rebates to individuals on campus who participate in a wellness program designated by the health insurer on campus.
  6. Offer non-academic cooking skills classes that are available to all students.

For more information on PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, visit

About The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University is a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 64,000 students (including 58,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.