Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 63° Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

BYU rated fittest college campus

Jennifer Dobner Associated Press

PROVO, Utah – On those annual lists of the nation’s college campuses, Brigham Young University is probably best known for its regular ranking near the bottom when it comes to party schools.

But now the university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has earned a new distinction: fittest college campus.

The ranking comes courtesy of Men’s Fitness magazine, which earlier this year went in search of the fittest and fattest schools.

Working with the Princeton Review, Men’s Fitness surveyed more than 10,000 university students from 660 campuses and released its rankings in its October issue, which hit newsstands this week.

BYU graduate student Jeff Dixon, 26, who lifts weights about four times a week, said regular workouts do more than just whittle his middle. It also helps in life’s mental games.

“When I feel good, it helps me in school. It helps me have a crisp, sharp mind,” he said.

He also thinks the early marriage-age of most Mormons plays a role.

“Most of us get married in college, so … maybe we do it just for the opposite sex, so we can catch a wife,” he said with a laugh.

The survey asked if students had gained weight during college, if they work out regularly and what types of campus facilities or services support – or discourage – healthy habits.

Along with BYU at the top of the list are the University of California, Santa Barbara; Boston University; University of Vermont and Northwestern University.

Men’s Fitness editor-in-chief Neal Boulton said the survey found that college students are “eager to balance Animal House practices with a fit lifestyle.”

Although the survey isn’t scientific, Boulton believes it paints a profile of fit campus environments that can be instructive for their chubbier counterparts.

Schools with the highest rankings for fitness, for example, provided healthy meal programs, good access to fitness education and facilities – including fitness trainers and rehabilitation support for injury recovery – and high campus safety rates. Most also mandated at least some physical education courses as requirements for graduation.

“At the bottom of the list, maybe they just had a gym,” Boulton said.

At BYU the fitness-first attitude is illustrated by steady traffic through student weight rooms, heavy use of swimming pools, booked courts for basketball, racquetball and tennis, and phys-ed courses that are among the first to fill up each semester.

There’s also a campuswide wellness program for students, faculty and staff, where a full fitness analysis, with screenings for cholesterol, body fat and cardio-respiratory fitness is available for less than $100. The program comes complete with a personalized training and nutrition program and three months of coaching support.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.