Health and Wellness is a Major Factor in Deciding what College to Attend

By Partnership for a Healthier America, Special for  USDR 

A new survey conducted in October 2015 by Harris Poll on behalf of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) among over 400 high school students finds that campus health and wellness offerings may play a significant role in where prospective students apply to  college.

Based on the responses of high school students planning to go to college, nearly 1 in 5 (18 percent) would be likely or extremely likely to change their decision to apply to a certain college or university based on the health and wellness offerings on  campus.

“From academics to campus culture to cost, high school students have a lot to consider when applying to college,” said PHA CEOLawrence A. Soler. “We are pleased, but not surprised, to see health and wellness ranking as one of students’  priorities.”

In particular, students noted the importance of campus recreation facilities and quality on-campus programs like physical fitness classes, cooking classes and wellness education opportunities. Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) believe that access to these services and amenities were absolutely essential when deciding where to  apply.

The survey results also show that just over half (51 percent) of female high school students planning to go to college find access to healthy food options in campus dining facilities either absolutely essential or very important when deciding where to go to  college.

Since physical wellbeing and the availability of nutritious options is a growing concern for incoming freshmen, many colleges and universities have joined PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative (HCI) to make healthier choices easier for students, faculty and  staff.

By joining as a partner of the HCI, each campus has committed to meet 23 guidelines – developed in collaboration with some of the nation’s leading academics, experts and thought leaders on campus wellness – around food and nutrition, physical activity and  programming.

“These findings only help to underscore the importance of PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative and we look forward to expanding the effort in the months and years ahead,” said  Soler.

The program was launched in 2014 and now serves more than one million students, faculty and staff across the country. For more information on PHA’s Healthier Campus Initiative, visit

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