Feb 26, 2024
The new UAH nutrition, wellness program strengthens student-athletes

To help the student-athletes at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) perform at their mental, emotional and physical best, the UAH Department of Athletics is launching a nutrition and mental health wellness program. UAH is part of the University of Alabama System.

The new effort is a component of UAH’s holistic approach for student-athletes, says Dr. Cade Smith, director of athletics. Part of the funding comes from a gift from Bryant Bank.

uah“How do we help our student-athletes have the best experience possible? The daily grind of trying to be a student, trying to be an athlete is not easy. Sometimes they’re going straight from the weight room to the classroom. No time to go to the cafeteria.”

UAH will provide a fueling station where student-athletes can grab a healthy snack and drink to tide them over until they can get a good meal. Snacks include healthy fats like nuts as well as protein bars and fruits, but this is not meant to be a meal replacement.

“It keeps them from getting a doughnut on the way to class,” Smith says.

Nutrition education, including experts meeting with athletes and coaches, is also part of the program.

The mental health side of the effort is just as important.

“For young people and everyone else, I think we’re more aware of mental health concerns than we’ve ever been,” Smith says.

The department is looking at an app-based daily assistant that provides student-athletes with effective tools to cope with stress. It also enables administrators to track various patterns in mental health that are represented among the student-athletes.

» ALSO SEE: NCAA student-athletes report different perceptions of weight & body image

Smith cites statistics highlighted by the app that reveal the extent of the problem: 27% of student-athletes report experiencing anxiety, but only 10% seek professional help.

“We want to integrate this with campus resources,” he says. “This is about providing resources for student-athletes to be able to take care of themselves.”

UAH’s goal is to help student-athletes be their best selves.

“And the byproduct is we have better teams.”

This is an issued press release from the University of Alabama-Huntsville.*

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