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For the third consecutive year The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has been awarded the prestigious Gold Level Campus Award by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as part of the global Exercise is Medicine® on Campus (EIM-OC) recognition program.
The Gold Level Campus designation under the EIM-OC Recognition Program highlights the steps individuals are taking in leading their campuses to becoming healthier through increased levels of physical activity and incorporating physical activity into health care. HKU, as the first campus in Asia and Hong Kong to achieve this international recognition, continue to promote EIM on Campus to enhance the health and wellbeing of the HKU community.
The current public health challenge of 2020 has highlighted the need for people to be physically active during a heightened COVID-19 outbreak. “As part of the Exercise is Medicine strategy we recognised the opportunity to be proactive and reach out to the HKU community, even though they are working at home, away from the office or under in self-quarantine”, emphasised Dr. Michael Tse, Director of the Centre for Sports and Exercise, who was recently invited to the ACSM EIM-OC Committee as the first international committee member.
The EIM-OC team at HKU continued to strengthen the medical referral program first launched in 2018, which refers patients for targeted exercise training to improve health outcomes. The Team also established a new initiative working together with CEDARS and the Physio team to address Mental Health, which is very important for student wellbeing. Another valuable EIM-OC initiative was the commencement of a regular exercise program for Cancer patients, which has made valuable contributions to the quality of life for many cancer patients.
Additionally, the EIM-OC group added other new initiatives such as a “Step up your Health” campaign that promoted the values of using the stairs and encouraged staff and students from over 24 departments to increase their step-count through stair climbing. A new “Sports for All” initiative introducing some exciting sports not commonly on offer, such as Dodgebee, Floorball Aquathlon and Airstorm, attracted 386 HKU members from over 75 faculties and departments to try out these new activities.
The Centre, in order to address the needs of HKU staff and students to continue to be physically fit despite the difficulties that have surrounded the COVID-19 pandemic, created resources to highlight the importance of “boosting your immune system” through physical activity, which are available on the CSE website. Live videos of exercise sessions have also been streamed weekly through the EIM@HKU Facebook page during the WFH period for the benefit of HKU staff and students. During the month of May which marks the global EIM month, the Centre promoted online activities for the HKU community, with daily workout exercises, health-tip Q&A sessions, home fitness tests and other challenges that attracted more than 19 thousand participation rates. For program review, please visit https://www.eim.cse.hku.hk/eim-month-may-2020.
For a campus-wide initiative to be successful it requires valuable collaborations such as that developed between HKU EIM-OC partners, the Centre for Sports and Exercise (CSE) and University Health Services (UHS), along with the support of the wider HKU community including CEDARS, Safety Office, Library, Lung Fu Shan, Human Resources, CPAO and the Medical Faculty, among others.