Let’s hear it for Spelman College in Atlanta for deciding to take the radical step of eliminating its athletics program and redirecting the $1 million earmarked for sports to a campus-wide health and fitness program. So, instead of only benefitting the 80 student athletes on campus, that money can now be spread out so it can impact all 2,100 undergraduates at the historically black campus.
That’s a really smart move when you consider how hard obesity hits African-American women. An estimated four out of five black women are overweight or obese, according to the Office of Minority Health. Spelman president Beverly Daniel Tatum told The Associated Press that a campus analysis had revealed that almost one out of every two students has high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or is obese.
"I have been to funerals of young alums who were not taking care of themselves, and I believe we can change that pattern not only for them but for the broader community," Tatum said.
Way to go Spelman for daring to break out of the traditional college mold and try something different - something that stands to benefit the entire university. Spelman has always been a leader in promoting scholarship and I look forward to the day when it becomes one for promoting health and wellness, too.