December 18, 2018  

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University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus Earns Fit-Friendly Designation

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach has been recognized as a Platinum Level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association. This is the only Platinum Level designation awarded to a Gulf Coast business or organization in 2016.

The award was presented to campus leadership on Wednesday, Feb. 24 to coincide with American Heart Month.

A series of new health initiatives, including the launch of the Health is Golden at Gulf Park campaign, culminated in the award. Efforts to increase physical activity on the campus included the following: hiring of a full-time fitness coordinator, addition of group fitness classes, monthly themed fitness walks, new exercise equipment, and the overall integration of fitness programs, services, and events into the culture of the Gulf Park campus.

“We are extremely honored to have been awarded the Platinum designation by the American Heart Association,” said Kim Beard, coordinator for the Gulf Park Fitness Center. “Students and employees who participate in the wellness opportunities that we offer and the employees who are involved in organizing and implementing these programs are to be applauded in helping us achieve this recognition.”

The American Heart Association awards Fit-Friendly designations to workplaces based on the following criteria: tobacco-free worksites and initiatives, physical activity, nutrition and culture. The Gulf Park campus was awarded Gold Level Fit-Friendly Worksite status in 2015.

According to the American Heart Association, more than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke as well as many other chronic illnesses and conditions. Making healthy changes in the workplace, where many adults spend much of their day, provides opportunities to help people be healthier.

To learn more about the health and wellness initiatives on the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus, visit