by Darius Miles–
By now you have already heard the “New Year, New Me” phrase being thrown around. Each year, people claim that January 1st will automatically bring about a new healthy lifestyle, but how many actually make good on their resolutions? One young man has sought to change his lifestyle, while inspiring his peers to do the same.
As a sophomore, Emmanuel Asenso, now a Virginia Tech senior, developed an idea for his undergraduate research project. His interest in the health disparities facing ethnic minorities led him to a desire for raising awareness within the local Virginia Tech community. With some further growth and motivation from his research team at the Translational Obesity Lab, the idea then morphed into his final project, E.A.S.Y.
“E.A.S.Y. stands for educate, apply and sustain yourselves,” said Asenso. “It’s an eight-week intervention and research study designed to provide education to help ethnic minority students learn about the health disparities they face and use the programs around them to sustain healthier lifestyles.” A human nutrition, foods and exercise major, Asenso explained that he wanted to learn how effective the intervention would be in reaching Tech students, if participants would be able to stick with the program, and whether or not they would be able to alter their current lifestyles over the eight-week span.
A total of 50 students have chosen to participate in the program, and from there they were separated into eight teams. The smaller groups have been provided tailored training through the recreational sports department, as well as seminars given by graduate students on topics of physical activity, dietary guidelines, self-efficacy and goal setting.
The program has put the small groups through a six-week GRIT program held in McComas Hall. GRIT is a high intensity interval training program that incorporates cardio, plyometric and strength workouts, lasting anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes. Participants have been meeting twice a week to take part in the grueling workouts, and according to Asenso, the responses have been mostly positive. In addition to the workouts, intervention surveys and BODPOD assessments were set to be administered at the beginning and end of the program, with fees being covered by contributions made from RecSports and other sources.
As he has been monitoring the participants’ progress, Asenso has already deemed the program a success. “The program has been able to provide the resources and support the participants need to live a healthier lifestyle,” he said. It’s been noted that some have already seen great progress and plan on healthier living once the program concludes. Asenso hopes to do these types of interventions and research on health disparities for the rest of his life, so it has already taught him a lot of invaluable information and a wealth of experience as he looks to help change lives by promoting a healthier generation