FARMINGTON — Continuing its 150th anniversary celebration this year, the University of Maine at Farmington is kicking off the spring semester with the “150 Healthy Habits” campaign.

Created by the UMF Health Center and its staff of student health advocates, the semester-long initiative provides students, staff and the general public with suggestions to encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices and to promote overall wellness.

“This is a great start to the semester,” Kathryn A. Foster, UMF president, said. “It’s so important to the campus and the community to keep information about wellness and healthy choices at the forefront. We’re looking forward to this exciting, new initiative and the positive impact it can have on everyone’s well-being.”

Beginning the next week, a different UMF office, student club or organization will suggest 10 healthy habits each week for 15 weeks. The ideas will be posted on the UMF Student Health Center website at, the center’s Facebook page and throughout campus.

In addition, four free public health-related talks will be held throughout the semester. Each will include a 30-minute lecture; a panel discussion with a question and answer time moderated by Dr. Susan Cochran, director of the UMF Student Health Center, and healthy snacks provided by Aramark.

Scheduled talks in Lincoln Auditorium at the UMF Roberts Learning Center include:

* Jan. 29, Noon-1 p.m.: New Year, New You? How Easy Is It To Change Your Health Habits? What Factors Influence Your Health Behaviors? Dr. Ali Geshnizjani, UMF assistant professor of community health, discusses current research on the social and behavioral factors that determine health habits.

* Feb. 26, Noon-1 p.m.: Stress: Friend or Foe? Stress management ideas and strategies are online, in magazines and books, offered in seminars and workshops. The implication is that stress is bad, something to be coped with, managed, eliminated. Dr. Natasha Lekes, UMF assistant professor of psychology, will present an alternative approach to stress and suggest ways to respond constructively to it.

* March 19, Noon-1 p.m.: Simple Food Rules for Living Well: Looking at diet and nutrition basics in the midst of all the media hype and controversies. It will be presented by Bryn Doiron, registered dietitian.

* April 16, 6:30 p.m.: Knowing and Growing: A conversation about local farming, whole foods and overall health. Denise Boothby, registered nurse and UMF faculty member, will bring her background as an educator, nurse, mother and farmer’s wife to discuss the benefits of growing food to all dimensions of health, for both individuals and communities.

UMF staff and students will also have the opportunity to participate in the March Madness Activity Challenge. The wellness initiative has participants challenging themselves to get 150 minutes of exercise every week in March.

For additional details, visit the calendar of events on the UMF 150th anniversary website at

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