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What is Certified Healthy Campus?

Certified Healthy Campus was created in 2011 to recognize both public and private
post-secondary campuses and career technology centers that promote health and wellness for their faculty, staff, students, and even visitors. Promotion of health and wellness can be done in a variety of ways including: passing policies that encourage healthy lifestyles and making facilities available for physical activities. Any college, university, or career technology center, whether public or private, may apply for Certified Healthy Campus status. The program is administered by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Why Does Certified Healthy Matter?

Currently, the major causes of death and disability in Oklahoma are due to chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes, and a significant proportion of these conditions are preventable. By becoming a Certified Healthy Campus, you are providing a healthy environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors, thereby supporting better choices and an overall healthier Oklahoma. By meeting most or all of the criteria to become Certified Healthy, campuses provide an established environment to foster behavior modification, in addition to policy adoption and implementation. Campuses provide an environment to offer targeted programs to improve health outcomes among multiple populations. Certified Healthy Campus provides an opportunity to reach not only young adults, but adults seeking continuing education or simply beginning their higher education career later in life. Additionally, Certified Healthy Campus encourages the implementation of policies, programs, and procedures that touch not only students, but faculty, staff, and visitors, as well. By providing a campus environment rooted in evidence-based health and wellness principles, you are contributing to Oklahoma’s future.

The State of Health in Oklahoma

Oklahoma currently ranks 47 out of 50 on America’s Health Rankings1. This is a decline from last year when Oklahoma was ranked 431. Out of all 50 states, this was the biggest decline in rankings from last year1. The decline can be attributed primarily to an 11% increase in the obesity rate, and a 14% increase in the physical inactivity rate1. Our poor health outcomes are hurting our families, finances, and future.

  • Premature deaths in the US overall have increased by 3% since last year from 7,214 to 7,432 years lost before age 75 per 100,000 population1. This is due to increasing deaths due to drugs, increases in suicides, and an uptick in occupational fatalities. In Oklahoma, 9,992 years are lost before age 75 per 100,000 population1. 
  • The leading cause of death in Oklahoma is heart disease, followed by cancer2. In fact, more than 1 in 4 Oklahoma deaths in 2017 were due to heart disease2. Cancer accounted for more than 1 in 5 Oklahoma deaths in 20172, and many cancer deaths are related to cigarette smoking3.
  • The third leading cause of death in Oklahoma is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In 2017, there were 3,035 deaths due to COPD in Oklahoma, accounting for 7.7% of deaths2.  Cigarette smoking is the main cause of COPD and secondhand smoke contributes to the disease, as well.4  
  • In 2017, Oklahoma had the 8th highest diabetes prevalence in the nation at 12.7%5. Type II diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all diabetes cases and obese and overweight adults are at increased risk for Type II diabetes6. In 2017, approximately 85% of Oklahomans with diabetes were also overweight or obese.7

Chronic disease is often preventable, but Oklahomans’ health behaviors are contributing to the state’s chronic disease morbidity and mortality. It is especially worth noting that three behaviors (poor diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use) contribute to four chronic diseases (heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and lung disease) that cause approximately 60% of all deaths in Oklahoma.2

In 2017, just 54% of Oklahomans ate fruit one or more times per day7.  Also, 17% of adults ate vegetables less than once per day7. In the same year, almost 71% of Oklahomans were either overweight or obese7. In 2017, more than 1 in 4 adults reported that they did not participate in leisure time physical activity during the past month7. In 2017, 1 in 5 adults were current smokers7. Unhealthy eating, a sedentary lifestyle, and tobacco use are a recipe for chronic disease. However, we can work together to improve behaviors and the health of Oklahomans. The change starts with YOU!

Campuses that are Certified Healthy see a return on their investment via healthier faculty, staff, students, and even visitors. By contributing to the wellness of those in your establishment, you are helping to create a better, brighter Oklahoma. Campuses that advocate for health are recognized as leaders in the community!


  1. United Health Foundation. America’s Health Ranking 2018 Annual Report. Available at
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2018. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2017, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Available at
  3. Lortet-Tieulent J, Goding Sauer A, Siegel RL, Miller KD, Islami F, Fedewa SA, Jacobs EJ, Jemal A. State-Level Cancer Mortality Attributable to Cigarette Smoking in the United States. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(12):1792-1798. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6530
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking and COPD. Available at
  5. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The State of Obesity. Available at
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. Available at
  7. Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Center for Health Statistics, Health Care Information, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2017, on Oklahoma Statistics on Health Available for Everyone (OK2SHARE). Available at