NEWS | March 14, 2013

Air Force Services aims for healthier Airmen

By Senior Airman George Goslin Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

In the midst of budget cuts and lower funding for all military branches, every unit is looking for ways to reduce spending. The Air Force Services Agency took a different approach to reducing the cost of spending for Airmen - keeping them healthy.

The AFSVA has implemented a "Go for Green" campaign aimed at helping Airmen become healthier and make better choices when it comes to eating right.

By eating healthier, Airmen will be able to perform better during physical training and could have reduced medical issues associated with unhealthy eating habits, potentially reducing costs to the Air Force in medical and training costs, according to Master Sgt. Wesley Tuson, 628th Force Support Squadron food service section chief.
The program encourages Airmen to eat better by showing them the differences between healthy and unhealthy foods, and the potential impact their eating choices can have on their overall health.

"For almost two years, the AFSVA has been working towards streamlining this new program and marketing it towards the customers at the dining facilities at various bases," said Tuson. "From balloons, posters and signs, the dining facilities will be advertising this new program to entice Airmen to pay attention to what they put in their bodies."

The new system provides a more visual understanding of the categories certain foods fall under. The first category is green, the high performance category which includes the healthiest foods an Airman can eat, like fruits and vegetables and healthier meals.

The second category, yellow, contains foods that provide moderate performance and includes the middle ground for food between healthy and unhealthy. Foods in this category may not necessarily be unhealthy for you, but they may hurt your performance.
The third and final category, red, contains foods that limit performance and consists of the least healthy foods containing the least amount of nutritional benefit.

"We have the color-coded system to enable our Airmen to help make better choices about what they put in their bodies on a daily basis," Tuson said. "You can eat the food listed under the red category. It won't kill you, but if you eat something like tacos every day and expect to go out and do great on your PT test, you probably won't do very well."

The program will be implemented Air Force wide and will ultimately help create healthier Airmen ready for whatever the mission demands. Coupled with advanced PT, the program should reduce the amount of less healthy foods Airmen consume and save the Air Force the costs associated with dietary related health and fitness issues.