Winter Thaw 5K

On Saturday, February 25th, Penn State Club Cross Country hosted the third annual Winter Thaw 5k. Despite the rain and wind, a number of students and community members came out to participate in the 3.1 mile course. The race kicked-off at the Institute of Science and Technology Building, looped around the Penn State Golf Courses, and finished just outside the HUB-Robeson Center.

The top five finishers for men and women are:


  1. Andrew Sell
  2. Mark Puleo
  3. Matthew Balogh
  4. Ray Friend
  5. Bryan Moon


  1. Leah Narkevic
  2. Amy Mohler
  3. Marissa Fritz
  4. Rita Concannon
  5. Steph Vignette

Each finisher received a KIND bar as they crossed the finish line. The top 5 male and female place winners received gift cards to Rapid Transit Sports. A big congratulations to all the runners! Healthy Penn State would like to thank the race volunteers who helped set up, marshal, and tear down the race.


The Body Monologues

On Wednesday evening students from HealthWorks, a peer education program in University Health Services, organized and performed The Body Monologues. The event was inspired by National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and included members of the Penn State W.O.R.D.S. (Writers Organized to Represent Diverse Stories) performance team. The performers shared their personal struggles with body image and their journeys to self-acceptance.

A HealthWorks student performs her monologue. Photo by Michelle Mehallow.

From gymnasts to runners, fashionistas to dancers, they told decidedly different stories that all centered around how they learned to accept their body in the face of ever-changing societal norms.

As part of the event, members of Orchesis Dance Company performed a piece that a story about humans battling their personal struggles. One dancer explained the piece illustrated that humans can win the battle, but that the struggles they will always be a part of the person. In the discussion portion of the event, students agreed that “Self-love is a process,” albeit a slow and ongoing one.

Maddy Galascio, a HealthWorks student and monologue performer, said she was introduced to the project last semester and it piqued her interest. At first, she didn’t think she had a strong story to tell but ended up delivering a moving performance about her struggles as a competitive gymnast. For Maddy, the best part of participating in The Body Monologues was bonding with her fellow performers. She said, “We’re really close now because we’ve been through so much together.”

The Body Monologues was a resounding success, and an example of how impactful discussions like these can be to college students. Opening up the conversation about self-acceptance, body image, and health is beneficial to not only the audience but also to the cast.

Written by Healthy Penn State Ambassador – Michelle Mehallow

University Health Services seeks applicants for HealthWorks peer health educators

Penn State students who are interested in promoting health among their peers can apply to participate in HealthWorks, a student peer education and outreach program within University Health Services (UHS). Students can apply starting January 30, 2017.  Membership applications will be accepted through March 3 for the 2017 – 2018 academic year.

This year, students have two different opportunities for promoting health among their peers:  1. One-on-one wellness services for students; and 2. Outreach and promotion through workshops and initiatives.

Current HealthWorks member, Kyle Houser (Biology ’17) encourages students to apply. “HealthWorks is a great opportunity for any Penn State student passionate about health and wellness. The major goal is to help make University Park a healthier place, but HealthWorks also encourages the development of leadership and communication skills and introduces you to people who will become some of your best friends. If you’re looking to get involved in an organization that is both personally and professionally rewarding, this is it!”

HealthWorks is a three semester commitment (one semester of training and two semesters of service). Training includes a 3-credit class through the Department of Biobehavioral Health (BB H) during the fall semester. Course topics include health promotion theories and strategies, and health issues including alcohol and other drugs, financial literacy, sexual health, nutrition, physical activity, sleep and stress. During spring semester, weekly meetings will be held and peer educators will participate in delivering wellness services or programming and outreach activities.

The one-on-one peer educators will meet individually with students to provide free wellness services.  The topics include stress and time management, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, sexual health and healthy relationships and financial literacy.

The outreach and promotion peer educators will conduct health education workshops, provide HIV test counseling, and conduct health promotion campaigns to raise awareness about topics like stress reduction, sustainability, and body image. Ongoing projects include healthy cooking videos, The Body Monologues, Healthy Penn State blog posts, social media, the Fitness Challenge and Safer Spring Break initiative.

Students can learn about and apply for HealthWorks by visiting

Eating Disorder Resources

“Eating disorders — such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating – include extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. They are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life” (NEDA, 2016)

Are you interested in learning more about eating disorders? Visit the websites below. You’ll also learn about how you can foster a body positive environment.


Are you or someone you know struggling? A team at Penn State’s University Health Services (UHS) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) can help. The staff are dedicated to working with and helping students who are battling eating disorders. Use the contact information below to call for an appointment.

Healthy Eating and Living Support (HEALS)
University Health Services (UHS) Medical Appointments 863-0774
UHS Nutrition Clinic 863-0461
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) 863-0395

Added Sugars

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines included for the first time a recommendation for added sugar.  Added sugar specifically refers to sugars and syrups added to foods during processing*.  The Guidelines recommend that no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from added sugar.  This translates to 12 teaspoons of sugar or 50 grams daily.  Keep in mind, a 12 ounce can of regular soda contains 40 grams of added sugar.

So, what does this mean for your diet?

  • Choose water, milk or calorie-free beverages instead of sugary sodas, sport drinks and blended coffees.
  • Select breakfast cereal carefully. Even ones that say “healthy” can contain added sugar.
  • Read food labels. Added sugar goes by lots of different names with the most common being: cane juice and syrup, corn sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate and nectars, honey, malt syrup, molasses, brown sugar and agave.
  • Keep your diet rich in fruits, vegetables and dairy. They contain natural sugars, not added sugar.

By 2018, all food manufacturers are required to use new food labels (see picture below) which include a line for added sugars.

Current Label                   New Label

*Source: Mayo Clinic

Stay Active this Winter

Are you ready to make some changes to your current exercise program? Does winter make it tough to get motivated for exercise?  Here are some tips to help make those changes and focus on a healthier you:

  1. Try a new workout class – Penn State Fitness has plenty to choose from!
  2. Meet with a personal trainer and develop a new exercise routine
  3. Go to the gym or an exercise class with a friend
  4. Schedule exercise like you schedule classes and meetings and make it non-negotiable
  5. Choose an activity you enjoy doing – basketball, yoga, skiing, etc.
  6. Look for clubs on campus that support indoor exercise and fitness – Indoor Activities
  7. Join the free walking group – Mondays 3:45-4:45 at Rec Hall track