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October 30, 2002

Program helps get campus in SHAPE

At a time when half of all Californians suffer from cardiovascular disease risk factors because of obesity and physical inactivity, a CSUS professor and his students are rising to the fitness challenge in the form of a convenient, affordable exercise program that fits even the busiest schedules.

Roberto Quintana, professor of kinesiology and health science, and exercise science students operate the Site for Human Applied Physiology and Exercise, or SHAPE. The program is designed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in the community and encourage healthier lifestyles through physical activity. Programs like SHAPE are gaining importance as new surveys by the California State Department Health Services indicate an alarming increase in physical inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity among Californians.

"We're promoting health and fitness assessment because a lot of people don't know what their health risk factors are," Quintana says. "Physical activity is an important component of a healthy lifestyle."

In the human performance research exercise laboratory in Solano Hall, Quintana and his students assess clients' cardiovascular risk based on fitness testing, blood pressure measurement, blood lipid analysis, medical history screening, nutritional analysis and body fat analysis.

"We use the program to train students how to implement it and gain experience firsthand in working with the public. It is a service by the University for the community," Quintana says.

A typical SHAPE exercise prescription is 30 minutes of activity per day, four times per week, to begin. Prescriptions are tailored to clients' individual needs. "The goal of prescription is to make physical activity a habit by incorporating it into a person's lifestyle," Quintana says.

Quintana gives an example of a client who has a work schedule of nine hours per day at CSUS. "She wanted to do something about her tendency to gain weight during the winter. We structured a program where she could exercise by riding her bike to work," Quintana says. "And instead of taking a coffee break, we converted it into a walking break every day that provides 20 minutes or more of exercise per day."

The SHAPE team worked on the little details too. "We changed some of her habits at work. Instead of faxing things, she walks over and talks to people. It may not seem like much at first, but if you look at it over a period of a year, it may add up to four pounds of fat burned. Over a period of 10 years, this can add up to 40 pounds," Quintana says.

The overall goals of SHAPE are to promote the objectives of Healthy People 2010, a set of national health objectives that serves as the basis for development of state and community plans.

Jason Talanian, a CSUS graduate student and intern with the program says, "It's great. I was surprised at how many people don't spend the time taking care of their physical activity needs. The SHAPE program has given me an opportunity to work with clients in a professional environment and led to a job opportunity as an exercise physiology technician."

Last year, SHAPE had an enrollment of about 180 clients with two to three students working with them. Quintana would like to expand the program as a resource to the Sacramento community, while allowing students to gain experience by working with clients.

Screening and initial assessment can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two and a half hours. After the initial assessment, clients receive a consultation and an interpretation of their results in a one-and-a-half-hour session, plus another follow-up session to address any further questions.

Prices vary depending on the tests recommended for each individual, but tend to be lower than health clubs in the area. Faculty and staff receive a 30 percent discount, and students receive a 40 percent discount. "All proceeds go back into the lab," Quintana notes.

To sign up for the program, contact Quintana at 278-4495 or 278-6902.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
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