Prof. makes natl. headlines



Christopher Edginton, leisure, youth, and human services professor, is interviewed for “NBC Nightly News.” The findings of Edginton’s cholesterol results suggest that his stress level may have been related to his cholesterol numbers.

SYDNEY HAUER, Executive Editor | [email protected]

A UNI professor’s cholesterol levels gained national attention this week as a featured story on “NBC Nightly News.”

Christopher Edginton, professor of leisure, youth and human services, was the focus on of the primetime TV show with Lester Holt for a segment about the link between cholesterol and stress that aired on Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m. The version of the story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal was published on Feb. 8.

Stephen Kopecky, Edginton’s cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, took notice when Edginton’s cholesterol suddenly spiked after being effectively monitored for many years. 

“We started to talk about lifestyle, and we started to talk about stressors. [Kopecky] said that you’ve got to let go of some things; so I did,” Edginton said.

At the time, Edginton held so many job titles that he was forced to carry around a four-sided business card. He was the administrator of the college of leisure, youth and human services, as well as a professor in the department.

In addition, he was the founder of Camp Adventure and the Secretary General of the World Leisure Organization. These jobs led to some extensive travel, with trips almost every month.

After stepping down from his positions as college administrator and Secretary General of the World Leisure Organization, Edginton’s cholesterol and stress levels substantially lowered almost immediately. They are now at a manageable level.

“NBC Nightly News” had found out about the story in The Wall Street Journal and contacted Edginton about being featured on their flagship news program.

“It was so fast and it was so amazing to me that they were able to construct the story as fast and as well as they did,” Edginton said. “On Monday of that week the story appeared online on The Wall Street Journal. On Tuesday, it was published in the street edition of The Wall Street Journal. On Wednesday, the producer from NBC Nightly News called me from New York City. She said, ‘Thursday morning we will have a producer and a camera crew at your door.’ So that’s how quick it went.”

He said that the NBC camera crew came to his office and wanted to interview him and his wife Susan, who serves as the leader of the Camp Adventure program, as well as capture a few scenes with his grandchildren.

They had everything scripted in advance, including some shots of him teaching his class.

“It was fun for my students,” Edginton said. “They really got a kick out of it and enjoyed it. I was really glad that I got to share it with them.”

“It was awesome to see,” said Joyce Levingston, graduate student assistant at the Institute for Youth Leaders and Edgington’s personal assistant.  “It was surprising how quick it went. It was very scripted and very laid out.”

Levingston said she also  believes the story helped put both Cedar Falls and UNI on the map.

Edginton stated that the response he is getting from the public is “tremendous” and that his email is full almost every day with comments. When asked why he chose to share this information about his health, he replied, “Well, if sharing my experiences with other people can help them in some way, then I’m happy to do that.”