MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two fiercely competitive Wyoming County high schools are going head to head in a contest to adopt healthy behaviors. The Southern West Virginia Lifestyles Project (SWVL, pronounced “swivel”), an ongoing health initiative created by the West Virginia University School of Public Health, kicked off SWVL Week Monday, April 14 at Wyoming East High School and Westside High School to promote and encourage healthier living among students and their families.     

Throughout the week of April 14-18, Wyoming East and Westside High School students will learn about healthier dietary alternatives and ways to become more physically active in their everyday lives. Developed in response to feedback from students representing both schools, a student competition will use the Twitter hashtags #SWVLEast and #SWVLWest to measure which school’s students apply the most health-conscious behaviors.

The winning school will be announced Friday, April 18 and will receive a SWVL Health Fair, including Zumba classes, a bounce house, and various prizes, including gym equipment and a football autographed by the WVU Football Team.

A recent report from Gallup’s State of the States survey once again placed West Virginia among the unhealthiest states in the nation, ranked second behind Mississippi. In an effort to reverse the trend, Wyoming County has been chosen as the pilot county to host SWVL, led by School of Public Health faculty member Michael McCawley, Ph.D..

The program was founded by students from the School of Public Health who are former Wyoming County residents. It aims to provide residents of Southern West Virginia with the information and resources needed to make healthier lifestyle choices. Community members in Wyoming County have rallied behind the program.

“When I learned of the new WVU School of Public Health and that Dr. McCawley and others may want to bring their programs in Wyoming County, I knew I had to get involved,” David “Bugs” Stover, a longtime Mullens resident, schoolteacher, and county circuit clerk, said.

Stover has been an integral member of the advocacy for healthier lifestyle changes in Wyoming County since SWVL’s inception. He will be helping the SWVL team kick off the competition.

The Southern West Virginia Lifestyles Project is a collaborative effort from the WVU Schools of Public Health, Nursing, Dentistry, and Pharmacy, the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism.

For more information about SWVL, visit or follow @swvlproject on Twitter.

For more information: Leigh Limerick, Communications Specialist, 304-293-7087
ac/lal: 04-14-14