MTSU continues ‘Blue Raiders Drink Up’ program wit...

MTSU continues ‘Blue Raiders Drink Up’ program with $450,000 state grant

Drink Up 2 promo (Water photo by Adobe Stock Images)

MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services is expanding its diabetes and obesity prevention activities with additional state funding.

The Tennessee Department of Health, as part of the Project Diabetes initiative, has provided the center with a three-year, $450,000 grant for its existing “Blue Raiders Drink Up: Healthy Choices for Healthy Students 2.0” program.

Center for Health and Human Services logo

Through the MTSU program, students can learn the importance of healthy beverage choices, reduce sugary beverage consumption, have opportunities to participate in cooking classes, receive one-on-one counseling with a registered dietitian or health coach, and participate in a fitness program as well as various educational events on campus.

Under the first three-year grant, the center’s BRDU program reached more than 3,700 students with more than 300 taking part in cooking classes, more than 650 engaging in one-on-one counseling and another 2,722 participating in tabling events, social media outreach and online programming.

Blue Raiders Drink Up logo

New aspects of BRDU 2.0 include the development of a Vending Choice Task Force to evaluate vending policies across the nation and a new partnership with MTSU’s Student Food Pantry to offer healthy items. In addition, extra water refill stations will be installed across campus.

“We are so eager to start another three-year project with Project Diabetes to implement these activities on our campus,” said CHHS Director Cynthia Chafin.

Cynthia Chafin, associate director for community programs, Center for Health and Human Services interim director
Cynthia Chafin

“The foundations of the BRDU 2.0 activities will utilize evidence-based and evidence-informed program and implementation components that have been tailored for MTSU’s campus, and will build on the successful three years of programming that are wrapping up.”

According to the 2020 State of Childhood Obesity report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Tennessee has the fourth highest rate of obesity for high school students in the nation. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the obesity trend continues into adulthood with 35.6% of adults reporting as obese in 2020.

TN Department of Health logo

The CDC asserts that limiting sugar-sweetened beverage intake will help people maintain healthy weight and have a healthy diet, thereby assisting them in avoiding obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay, cavities and gout.

MTSU’s Center for Health and Human Services seeks to improve the health and well-being of Tennesseans and initiates and strengthens academic programs to support workforce development and promote healthy communities. The center is primarily externally funded and has received more than $11 million over the years.

For more information, contact Chafin at 615-898-5493 or or go to

— Gina K. Logue (

Diabetes Complication Chart from Tennessee Department of Health Project Diabetes website
Diabetes complications chart (Image from Project Diabetes website)