BELLA - Better Education for Lasting Lifestyle Achievement

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This program overviews BELLA (Better Education for Lasting Lifestyle Achievement), an interdisciplinary program to promote the health of 40+ aged female employees at a Midwestern U.S. university. The program is based upon the socio-ecological model which emphasizes the intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational / community, and policy influences on health behaviors. The model provides a framework for facilitating small changes in individuals’ behaviors in an effort to enhance both employee health and workplace culture. Female employees who had participated in previous campus wellness programs were provided advanced educational and skill-related wellness instruction in order to reinforce prior education and facilitate continued progress. In addition to face-to-face sessions, an online social networking website was developed to provide added value for participants with 24 hour access to information and resources presented in the weekly group sessions (e.g., video of cooking demonstrations, participant cooking classes, and facilitator-led exercise programs) and discussion boards to provide participants with “safe” and convenient opportunities to ask questions. A unique component of the BELLA program is the collaboration of university professionals from three separate academic departments including dietetics, exercise science, and health education. Strategies for implementing BELLA in other settings will be provided.