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Families focus on health, fun at expo

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POSTED: June 7, 2014 8:30 a.m.
Photo by Samantha B. Koss/

Spc. Benito Sanchez canoes with his wife, Mayra, and two children on Holbrook Pond during Saturday’s Community Outdoor Health Expo on Fort Stewart.

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Liberty Regional Medical Center and Fort Stewart’s Winn Army Hospital partnered with Morale, Welfare and Recreation for the first Community Outdoor Heath Expo on Saturday at Holbrook Pond for soldiers, families and civilians. The expo offered cholesterol, glucose, blood-pressure and HIV screenings as well as physical activity and nutrition education given by MEDDAC and LRMC.
“We have a great partnership with Col. (Kevin F.) Gregory and everyone at Fort Stewart,” said Rene’ Harwell, marketing and public-relations director at LRMC. “We want to partner together so we can reach the military community.”
LRMC previously held its own health fair on the hospital’s campus.
“Three years ago, I heard that Fort Stewart was going to have a women’s expo,” Harwell said. “There was no reason to have separate expos, so we decided to partner together and it has evolved from there to what we have today.”
The event featured representatives from MWR, LRMC, all of the Fort Stewart medical community and the health departments from Liberty and Long counties. They focused on health and offered fun family activities, such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing and exercise classes.
During the fishing derby, more than 190 children cast their lines, many reeling in sizeable catfish from the stocked pond. Community members were allowed to fish and bypass the usual permit and registration requirements.
“It’s been a great fishing day,” retired Staff Sgt. Richard Jackson said. “We didn’t need a permit, and they stocked the pond with 3,000 pounds of catfish for the day.”
After the fishing derby, many children brought their stuffed animals to the Little Patches Clinic to learn about the different areas and departments in hospitals. Children traveled a makeshift “hospital,” which was set up inside a squared-off formation of tables, seeing to it that their stuffed animals received car in the operating room, emergency room and X-ray room.
Health-care vendors set up exhibits and provided blood-glucose tests and blood-pressure and other screenings. Information on the Performance Triad pilot program, a health initiative created by Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, surgeon general and commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command, also was available at the expo. WACH Chief of Preventative Medicine Lt. Col. Mark Killebrew elaborated on the initiative, which aims to improve the health of soldiers, civilians and families. The Triad components have significant impact on mission readiness, he said.
“The Performance Triad is based on three pillars — sleep, activity and nutrition,” Killebrew said. “These three pillars are essential to health … proper amount of sleep, staying physically active and eating properly.”
The initiative was designed improve the readiness and resilience of the Army family, because a healthy mind and body are vital to individual and unit performance, according to the chief. The program maximizes the quality of sleep soldiers and their families have, focuses on safe physical activity and healthy diets.
“Performance equates to less injuries,” Killebrew said. “We want to prevent injuries because that is the No. 1 showstopper.”
When a soldier is injured, he or she is out of the fight until healed. This affects their mission readiness, he added.
“Everything we do in the Army is focused on mission readiness,” Killebrew said. “And to keep physical limitations to a minimum … all this can be prevented by the three pillars.”
Another key part of the Performance Triad is a move from a reactive Army health-care system to a proactive system for facilitating overall wellness. The Army medical team encourages soldiers, civilians and families to incorporate health-promoting behaviors and decisions into their daily lives.
“This will reduce disease and injury as well,” Killebrew said. “Diabetes, high blood cholesterol, heart disease and injuries can all be prevented by this initiative as well as individual preventative care.”

 

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