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Dr. Thomas M. Nardozzo Community Service Endowment Fund

The College of Health and Human Development has awarded funds from the Dr. Thomas M. Nardozzo Community Service Endowment Fund to two faculty members.

The support is intended to help develop and deliver community outreach programs that promote human health and well-being and enhance the land grant responsibility of the University.

Christopher Bopp, kinesiology instructor and director of the Center for Fitness and Wellness, plans to use the award to develop and implement a screening program for sarcopenia – muscle loss – in local retirement communities.

Specifically, the funds will go toward three pieces of equipment to conduct proper sarcopenia screenings based on the recommendation of European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People.

“Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterized by progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass, function and strength with an increased risk of adverse outcomes like physical disability, poor quality of life, and death,” Bopp said. “The presence of both low muscle mass and low muscle strength are needed for a diagnosis of sarcopenia.”

The project will provide undergraduate students in the Department of Kinesiology an opportunity to gain valuable firsthand experience working with older adults. The Village at Penn State has agreed to open their facility to students in the new Applied Exercise and Health option to perform these tests.

Melissa Bopp, associate professor of kinesiology, plans to use the funds to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to apply what they learned in the classroom about policies that promote physical activity.

Specifically, the award will help allow students enrolled in Physical Activity and Public Health, KINES 426, attend Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to garner support for federal legislation about physical activity.

“One of the most powerful approaches for impacting health, wellness, and physical activity are those initiatives that take place at the policy level,” Melissa Bopp said. “Local, state, and federal legislation and policy have the potential to impact a large portion of the population.”

The American College of Sports Medicine and the Sports and Fitness Industry Association created the annual two-day legislative event, which includes training on legislation after which participants visit lawmakers’ offices to speak with elected officials or their representatives about physical activity related legislation.

These activities are in line with other Department of Kinesiology outreach initiatives, including the Exercise is Medicine on Campus and Mobile Exercise is Medicine campaigns, which promote physical activity and exercise for improved health and decreased morbidity and mortality.

“The main learning outcome for students will be a greater understanding of the federal legislative process and how these types of policies can impact population level physical activity and health,” Melissa Bopp said. “Long term goals include greater number of students prepared to engage in advocacy activities and awareness of the importance of legislation to support health behaviors.”