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Healthy Lifestyle Program Challenges Military Community to Eat Healthy, Exercise More and Smoke Less

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Construction Electrician 1st Class Chivas Matthews helps a child lead the count during a family day physical training session. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Lindsey)

Nowadays, we’re conscious of the merits of a healthy lifestyle. We watch TV shows and read articles warning us that the “supersize it” desire of the past is not the way to a healthy future. Whether it’s clean eating, exercising or not smoking, many of us are getting out there and fulfilling our healthy pledges. The Defense Department is also doing its part to support healthy lifestyles of service members and their families with its healthy living initiative, “Operation Live Well.”

The health and wellness campaign targets every individual in the military community — service members, their families and civilians — and encourages everyone to adopt positive habits that promote good health. On the Military Health System website, you can access tools, information and resources including tips to make better food choices, stay physically active, quit or avoid tobacco, and stay mentally fit. The site also helps you develop your own personalized health plan with physical activity, nutrition, and mental wellness tools and mobile apps. Information is divided into five models for good health:

  • Integrative Wellness: It’s easy to forget how closely our physical, emotional and mental health are connected, but taking care of your body helps keep your mind healthy. This section provides links to resources to learn more about the Defense Department’s comprehensive and integrated approach to wellness.
  • Physical Activity: Get up and get out! Physical activity does wonders for your health. This section has information on how you can get moving.
  • Nutrition: Eating a variety of nutritious foods keeps you performing and looking your best. Learn how to create easy and great-for-you meals.
  • Tobacco-free Living: Get information on the health risks of tobacco use and resources on how to stop using it or avoid starting the habit.
  • Mental Wellness: Emotional and mental well-being increases your ability to cope during stressful times. Explore resources to help strengthen you and your family’s mental and emotional health.

The “Healthy Base Initiative,” a demonstration project created to support “Operation Live Well,” aims to help the defense community increase the health and wellness of the entire force by improving nutrition and fitness options available on bases. During this year-long project, which kicked off in March, 13 participating military installations and Defense Department sites will be examined on environments that encourage and sustain healthy lifestyles, such as better nutritional food options, increased physical activity, decreased or elimination of tobacco use, and weight loss to reduce the risk of diseases like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. The programs that are most successful will eventually expand to other installations.

In May, the Defense Logistics Agency became the first site to provide an environment for its personnel to make better choices through policies that promote healthy nutrition and active lifestyles. One policy is “Stairwell to Health,” which encourages stair usage throughout the facility — a good way to be more physically active during the work day!

Changing poor lifestyle choices doesn’t happen overnight and it’s often hard to commit to if you’re doing it alone. “Operation Live Well’s” community-minded approach helps you and those around you make healthy living the easy choice.

Learn more about “Operation Live Well” at militaryonesource.mil/olw. Plus, get helpful tips and ideas to share with others on the website’s Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Do you have a favorite healthy living tip? Let us know in the comments below.

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This page was last updated on: September 14, 2017.