Healthy College Initiative

Come Join Us!

You’ve been spotted – Showing Healthy Habits 

Columbia State’s First Healthy Employee of the month has been Spotted!

Emily Gaskill at a piano
Meet Emily Gaskill. 

Emily has been with Columbia State for 17 years. If you are out on the Main Campus, you may see Emily walking. 

When asked about her exercise routine, Emily said, "I try to vary my routine but try to exercise every day. When I can get outside, I enjoy walking. It is easier on my knees. I also bike outdoors and have an indoor exercise bike. I have a "cheap" stepper I use sometimes. In addition, I go to the gym and do weights at least once (but preferably twice) a week. Occasionally, I will swim."

Emily exercises for the endorphins that give an energy boost and help think more clearly. She said, "I want to maintain a healthy weight and hopefully, slow the aging process."

Emily was diagnosed with diabetes 5 years ago and has become more diligent about regular exercise and diet, and has not had to take any diabetic medications to help manage blood sugar.

Emily’s advice to someone just starting out, "Put down the cigarettes!, if you smoke. There is no good reason to smoke (plus it is terribly expensive!). There are smoke stopper classes that folks can take. Start there. It will be amazing how much better a person feels by not smoking. Then, start an exercise regime slowly - a leisurely walk is an easy way to start and not feel so "regimented". Do a variety of things and get a Buddy (or two). It is easier to "stay the course" when you have someone encouraging you!"

Way to go, Emily!

Register for the American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Workplace Recognition Program 

As part of this, we will get to use their online Activity Tracker.  With the free, online Activity Tracker, you can:

  • Track your daily physical activity.
  • Track your daily diet intake.
  • Use their Google Map-based Walking Paths to find or create walking routes in your neighborhood, around work, and even around your hotel when traveling on business.
  • Follow a personalized Walking Plan.
  • Get nutrition and physical activity tips to help you achieve your goals.

How to register for the American Heart Association’s Activity Tracker:  

  1. Go to  Activity Tracker  (
  2. Click on the orange “Register” button. Fill out the registration form. Click on the orange Search for company link and type in Columbia State Community College and select your company name. Make sure they click the “Share My Info with My Employer” opt-in box. Click “Submit.” Employees will instantly receive a confirmation email from with their username and password.
  3. Track your physical activity by logging in with their username and password at Click the green “Tracker” tab, then the blue “Activity Diary” tab.

Lets hit the path toward better health together!

A Healthier Dessert

Apple Crisp


  • 6 cups sliced apples, preferably half Granny Smith half McIntosh
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup to ½ cup sugar, preferably half white, half packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3-4 tablespoons of margarine or butter, cold from the refrigerator
  • Optional:  ¾ cup chopped almonds or pecans; ¼ teaspoon nutmeg 


  1. Core, slice, and place the apples in an 8X8 inch baking pan. Coat with ¼ cup sugar.
  2. Heat oven 375 degrees
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon (nutmeg if adding it). Add the margarine or butter, pinching it into the flour with your fingers until it looks like crumbly wet sand. Add nuts as desired
  4. Distribute the topping evenly over the apples.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. If you want crisper topping, turn the oven up to 400 degrees for the last 5 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Information:
260 calories per serving; 50 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 6 g fat


Both of our health insurance providers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) and CIGNA, offer discounts at various fitness locations. Register at for CIGNA Healthy Rewards BCBST offers a program called FitnessBlue: In reviewing the Prime Fitness locations for FitnessBlue, the Wellness & Aquatics Complex in Columbia is listed, as well as, many others.

Call BCBST at 1.855.515.1332 or CIGNA at 1.800.870.3470 if you have ANY questions about these programs.

"Eat your fruits and vegetables."

You've likely heard this statement since childhood. Research shows why it is good advice:

  • Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Fruits and vegetables also provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health.
  • Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

Along with many other observances in the month of September, this is Fruit and Veggies Month

Check out this link to some great information:  Fruits & Veggies Matter

A Great Place To Start. Invest in Columbia State.

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