UVM One of America’s “Fittest” Universities

Men’s Fitness magazine recently launched a new theme: America’s Fittest and Fattest Colleges. The concept is simple, over 660 universities and colleges were surveyed with nearly 10,000 students questioned and interviewed to determine which school is considered fit and which school is fat.

The results from Men’s Fitness magazine’s first survey on college fitness ranked UVM number four in the nation out of the 660 schools surveyed.

The criteria for determining a fit school included health, fitness and overall nutrition habits such as exercise, alcohol intake, smoking, and even sleep. Students were also interviewed about topics such as frequency of workouts, the amount of weight gained and lost, as well as the quality of campus fitness facilities.

Interestingly enough Boston University, a school in the America East Athletic Conference, UVM’s conference and fellow competitor, ranked just above the university at number three.

The school ranked number one in terms of overall fitness reported was Brigham Young University, a uniquely Mormon school in which it was reported that most of their students do not drink caffeine let alone consume alcohol or smoke.

The number two fittest school ranked was University of California at Santa Barbara, a school conveniently located on a beach. Alongside USC-Santa Barbara in the top twenty were two other California schools.

Our neighbor, Middlebury College received an honorable mention for a very fit small college as well as the US Coast Guard and the Military Academy. Meanwhile the top twenty “fattest” or least fit schools were predominately from the south including the University of New Orleans and Mississippi State University.

The ranking comes just after UVM’s successful renovation and expansion of the fitness center last spring, which included new machines, workout areas and even televisions for viewing in the cardiovascular room.

The UVM gym is also home to several climbing walls, racquetball rooms and recreation areas. The athletic facilities at the university have very generous hours, remaining open until 11pm on weekdays allowing a greater window of opportunity to squeeze in a workout.

The outdoor setting of UVM and the student body’s tendency to really be active and involved in other activities aside from varsity athletics has helped boost UVM to the top of fitness charts. The Outing Club for example is one of the most popular clubs at the university in which students frequently take hiking, camping and canoeing trips.

The extremely competitive and popular intramural and club sports such as men’s and women’s rugby and crew add to UVM’s active atmosphere. The UVM club gymnastics team in recent years has reached nationals on several occasions.

Other clubs such as ultimate frisbee have not only been increasing in size but in success along with attending larger tournaments throughout the nation. Aside from clubs UVM students rely on bikes, walking and even skateboarding to get around campus and town, a healthy and active alternative to cars.

Possibly the most obvious reason that UVM has won such high acclaims of fitness is the close proximity of some of the best mountains in the northeast. UVM was also recently named by Kaplan as one of the “the hottest cold schools,” in which UVM was described as a school notorious for beautiful cold weather that students certainly take advantage of.

The school frequently facilitates trips to several local slopes during the ski season on the weekends, a very unique and convenient service that students certainly take advantage of.

UVM’s outstanding rankings in this poll is extremely reflective of the environmentally conscious campus as well as a prominent outdoor and earthy ambiance.

Andrew Morehouse, a senior at UVM agreed with the rankings, “It is hard not to be active at this school, people think that we [the student body] just hibernate in the winters but its just the time we spend outdoors all day skiing and snowboarding, and when its not winter there are great trails to go running, hiking or biking to take in the clean mountain air.”

The study was funded and supported by the Princeton Review, an educational provider who in the past has been a leading resource in college rankings and assessments. The full report is expected to be available in the October issue of Men’s Fitness magazine.