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DSU to add online health education, physical education program

The program will be ready this fall.

This fall, Dickinson State University is launching online Health Education and Physical Education programs.

Ann Wittkopp is dean of the School of Professional Studies. She says giving an online option will make the program more accessible to more students, as a way to combat the country’s growing obesity and health epidemic. Wittkop says obesity has been rising since World War II, but has increased dramatically within the last ten years – and research says soon, 44 percent of the US population will be overweight or obese. And she says the effects of that are not just physical – mental health is also on the decline as schools have made physical health less of a priority.

"I had a nursing student that did her clinicals, and during one of them she had three different suicide watches come into the ER during her clinical experience that day. So it's just an example of - making this smaller, and focusing on more language arts and math over the last 20 years, has left a little bit of a gap there that I'd like our program to be able to go out and address in our communities."

Wittkopp says students have the option of majoring in one program, or double majoring in both – as the difference in the programs is only 14 credits. And she says helping to establish healthy habits in people when they are long has lasting positive effects.

"Our health education piece will focus on sleep, mental health, stress management - all those components that have really come to light in the last three, four years since the pandemic, we've seen an uptick in awareness in the importance of mental health. Our health education focuses on that, and our physical education piece focuses on how do we create movement for individuals - and how do we make that accessible to all?"

Interested students can visit DSU’s website, or contact the admissions office.