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Deployed Airmen enjoy base barbecue

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Joanne Ruggeri
  • 90th Medical Operations Squadron commander
It has been more than 60 days since the new Air Force Instruction 36-2905 hit the streets, and business has really picked up at the Health and Wellness Center. Often times, major changes can create confusion, miscommunication or even misinterpretation as the new AFI is implemented. Over the past few months, the HAWC and services members have been working closely together to implement this process and make it as seamless as possible.

The new fitness requirements have created an influx of physical fitness failures as folks learn to adjust their fitness levels to pass all components of the test. Those who do not achieve a satisfactory score are required to attend the new Be Well Class, which covers balanced eating, work-out effectively and live long. These classes have been filling up as fast as they are offered. The good news is, the HAWC has been prepared for this change for quite some time and has increased the number of classes offered to three times-a-week.

The HAWC staff is there to help members with all aspects of healthy living and improved fitness. Not only is the HAWC staff responsible for the mandatory Be Well Classes, they also offer several other programs targeting fitness, nutrition, stress, tobacco prevention and community initiatives for the base population. These programs are designed to help members focus and improve to achieve optimal health. Identifying personal goals, setting realistic expectations, and recognizing and overcoming barriers enhance one's chances for success for a long healthy life.

They are dedicated to educating and encouraging health promotion for the entire base community. Based on community needs, the HAWC offers healthy weight modules, strength training classes, running clinics, gait analysis, Men's Health, and Fit and Healthy Airman programs. All are designed to help members improve their overall fitness. Perhaps the most popular program offered is the Group Lifestyle Balance Class, which focuses on long-term lifestyle changes regarding healthy eating and increased physical activity. The 12-week program consists of a one hour class each week and all materials and supplies are provided.

Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of many chronic diseases and physical ailments. For that reason, the HAWC offers a comprehensive tobacco cessation program based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's best practices. The goal of the tobacco treatment specialist is to offer a comprehensive and flexible cessation program by expanding cessation efforts, while meeting the demands of the mission. This includes providing one-on-one counseling, group support cessation, and Web-based cessation and quit lines.

The HAWC staff members are the experts in nutritional and fitness education. They also assist pre-natal clients, provide cooking classes, provide one-on one personalized nutritional and fitness counseling, offer stress reduction strategies, and they can help you achieve your specific goals.

The HAWC staff is composed of four members; Cindy Mulcahy, the HAWC director and registered nutritionist; Allison Morrell, a certified exercise physiologist; Tom O'Brien, a health promotion educator; and Diane Dutremble, the office manager.

There are plans in the works to offer additional services and educational programs at the work sites and within the organizations. The HAWC staff will be glad to come to your unit, squadron PT, commander's calls, and are available to accommodate various work schedules.

By expanding HAWC services, the base population will have more opportunities to take advantage of the various classes and programs offered to improve their health and fitness. Adopting healthier and sustainable lifestyle behaviors is the key to prevention and improving your overall health. The HAWC is dedicated and here to provide these services and improve your chances of attaining your individualized health goals. For more information on HAWC offerings, please call 773-4292.