FORT POLK, La. –
The Civilian Fitness and Health Promotions Program hosted an education and information fair at the Join Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk Army Community Service, Sept. 20.
The CIVFIT-HP2 is designed to allow Department of the Army civilian employees the opportunity to participate in physical fitness activities as part of their duty day.
Brig. Gen. David Doyle outlines the program in Command Policy Memorandum 20 and encourages commanders and supervisors to implement and administer the program within their organizations.
Luewana Hannon, community ready and resilient integrator for the installation, coordinated the event to educate civilians about the program and familiarize them with other support agencies available to support their health and fitness goals.
“The civilian health and fitness program is for civilian employees to participate in up to three hours of physical fitness or health and wellness programs during their normal work day each week,” she said. “Regular physical activity is critical to preserving long-term health and optimizing mission readiness.”
Hannon said this is a command sponsored program that will give civilians the opportunity to address any fitness or health education activities during their duty hours.
Civilians must get prior approval from their supervisors, discuss their goals and ensure they understand the parameters of the program as outlined in the policy. She said this allows supervisors to help employees make a plan that will not impact the organization’s mission while still encouraging civilian staff members to get after their health and fitness goals.
“The program is designed to enhance employees over all wellness. We have coordinated monthly classes in stress and weight management, nutrition, alcohol awareness, tobacco cessation and more,” Hannon said.
“I think allowing employees to enroll in this program and encouraging them to meet their health and fitness goals will enhance our organization as a whole. By staying healthy and fit, employees will be less likely to need extended periods of time off due to chronic health related issues.”
The information fair included representatives from the Army Substance Abuse Program, the Army Wellness Center, and Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital’s nutrition care and health promotions programs.
Lt. Col. Nichelle Johnson, deputy commander for quality and safety at BJACH, is a dietician and was on hand to provide information on the importance of nutrition in a well-rounded health and wellness program.
“I think nutrition is an important part of everyone’s life, eating with a purpose is necessary to reach our health and fitness goals,” she said. “Meeting with a dietician can provide in depth nutritional information for anyone dealing with hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes.”
Johnson said anyone interested in enrolling in this program should consult a dietician or visit the Army Wellness Center because a combination of physical activity and nutrition are necessary for overall wellness.
“If you are just exercising and not changing your eating habits you will not be successful,” she said. “If you are only watching what you eat you may only see limited results; but if are exercising and eating right you have an 80 percent chance of reaching your goals.”
Amelia Connor, prevention and employee assistance program coordinator for the Fort Polk Army Substance Abuse Program, had an information table to educate fair goers on the negative effects of high risk behaviors on overall health.
“Our goal is to give the civilian workforce information about high risk choices related to alcohol and drugs and provide them with resources and tips for making lower risk choices,” she said. “EAP is here to help any DA Civilian, active duty Soldier, retiree or Family member with work/life balance assistance. We can help with stress management, grief and any substance abuse related issues. Our philosophy is a whole healthy employee is a more productive employee.”
Connor said she encourages managers to refer employees to EAP if they know they're having issues outside of the organization that is affecting their work and productivity.
Geneva Meridith, health promotion technician for BJACH’s Department of Public Health, said her department is available to conduct classes and educational programs about a variety of health related topics for Soldiers, Family members, civilian employees and retirees.
“Weight management, diabetes and tobacco cessation are just a few of the courses we teach,” she said. “Our role with the civilian fitness program is to help implement the performance triad: making sure participants are getting enough sleep, eating right and exercising. We collaborate with the Army Wellness Center, the health promotions officer and CR2 to work as a cohesive team. People may want to get fit and healthy but don’t know where to start. That’s where we come in.”
Aeriell Blais, health educator, with the Army Wellness Center said she can help participants in the CIVFIT-HP2 with their health and wellness goals.
“We offer health and wellness classes and one on one appointments that include weight and stress management, and nutrition education,” she said. “We also have several assessment tools we can use to help clients determine overall body composition, so they know where they are starting. Every month we can help track their progress by reassessing them against their baseline. We can personalize a program for each client with a metabolic analysis to make calorie recommendation based on their individual goals.”
Editor’s note: For more information on CIVFIT-HP2 , the policy and program application can be found at home.army.mil/polk/index.php/my-Fort-Polk/employees/CIVFIT-HP2