Obesity causes or exacerbates numerous chronic diseases and conditions that can lead to death, including diabetes and hypertension. In an effort to address the obesity epidemic in Arkansas, the governor-led Healthy Active Arkansas (HAA) initiative was launched to provide a 10-year framework with phased goals to increase the percentage of Arkansans who are at a healthy weight. As part of this initiative and support by funding from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement convened five statewide learning network meetings in 2018 to engage, recruit, and activate a network of local champions to assist in meeting these goals. This study, featuring Southern Arkansas University’s Mule Rides bicycle sharing program for students and the community, is part of a series of case studies highlighting success stories from the HAA Statewide Learning Network.
Mule Rides, a component of SAU’s HealthyU initiative to promote healthy habits inside and outside of the classroom, provides students an alternative mode of transportation that supports an active lifestyle and improves the student experience. The program is open to all students, faculty, staff, and members of the public. Thirty bikes stationed at four hubs around the SAU campus are available for use.
From the start of Mule Rides through November 2018, 1,357 members have signed up to participate in the program. Of these, 1,329 members are active users. Members have made 6,644 trips covering 9,870 miles ― totaling 2,654 hours and 32 minutes of riding time.