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NEWS | Aug. 29, 2007

Programs offered on base for healthier living

By Airman Melissa White 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Where can Airmen go to become healthier, get motivated to quit smoking or to learn about nutrition along with many other things?

The 437th Medical Group Health and Wellness Center has several programs and classes to offer year-round to active-duty military, Reservists, retirees, family members and Department of Defense civilians and contractors. The staff at the HAWC schedules appointments for clients with priority for active-duty military.

The HAWC is a clinic that helps people manage their health, nutrition and fitness through appointments and community outreach programs. The team that is standing by ready to help members of Charleston AFB includes Regina Creech, health education program manager, Laura Markuly, exercise physiologist, Staff Sgt. Nadgrita Borel, diet technician, and Tech. Sgt. Sarah Flores, 437 MDG dental technician temporarily assigned to the HAWC as an information manager. They also said there is a slot for a registered dietician that will be filled shortly.

This trained staff runs a variety of classes and programs including body composition improvement, tobacco cessation, the healthy living program, pre- and post-natal classes, group cholesterol classes, weight loss classes and several others that vary with the time of the year. The Air Force requires bases to observe five months dedicated to a specific type of health: AF Healthy Weight Month in January, AF Nutrition Month in March, AF Fitness Month in May, AF Quit Tobacco Use Month in November and AF Responsible Alcohol Use Month in December.

"We have a lot to offer on Charleston AFB that applies to several types of people," said Ms. Creech. "We also try to offer programs that fit a health theme for a certain month like the months the Air Force requires us to observe, but we also do other months like Men's Health Awareness Month in June. There was a lunch-and-learn program available in that month for members of the base."

Though the HAWC welcomes everyone in group classes they hold, a referral is needed for other special programs. Members are scheduled for appointments only if they have referrals from their primary care managers for nutrition, exercise and fitness. Airmen receive automatic referrals for the healthy living program if they score too low on their physical fitness test. They also get automatically referred to the exercise physiologist if they are on a profile for more than 30 days or if they are part of the healthy living program.

The HAWC currently has 68 clients in the healthy living program which is an improvement from last year when there were approximately 150 members. The average time a person may spend in the healthy living program is about three to six months, but it depends on the individual.

"It's really exciting to see our clients improve through our different programs," said Ms. Creech. "When I first started this job, my coworkers and I were out on the track cheering on a client who was in the healthy living program. It was amazing to see how happy he was when he passed his test because he had been struggling with it for a while."

For more information on the HAWC and what it has to offer, call the office at 963-4007