Mural project reflects healthy lives
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Sept. 21, 2015) -- U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Japan staff members celebrated the completion of a mural project during the reveal to the community Sept. 1 inside the BG Crawford F. Sams U.S. Army Health Clinic on Camp Zama.
Jana York, heath promotion educator for MEDDAC-Japan, brought the project ideas to reality, with the help of 75 Camp Zama community members from 6 months old to 92 years old, to build awareness of a healthy life style and to promote the Army's Performance Triad campaign.
York said some participants painted details on the mural while others created hand stamps to signify that they supported the importance of self-care and good health.
"Community involvement is an effective method to deliver the message of health readiness," said York.
Kayla Lee, 12 years old, who was a project leader from the Camp Zama's Girl Scouts, received a coin from Col. Thirsa Martinez, commander of MEDDAC-Japan, as a token of appreciation.
Kayla said this project was to promote health.
"Health is good for you and you should try to stay healthy -- it helps you live longer and it makes you feel better," said Kayla.
To stay healthy, Kayla said she walks her dogs every day.
Spc. Rachel Schwartz, assigned to MEDDAC-Japan, who was the art and design director for the project, received a certificate of appreciation from Martinez.
Schwartz said York asked her to do the project, because she has done several projects for MEDDAC-Japan in the past, such as designing T-shirts and military coins.
"I was asked to create a mural around the concept of what health means to me," said Schwartz.
Looking at other health murals online, Schwartz said they depicted "hospitalized stuff," and she didn't want to go in that direction, "because that is not what health is about."
Schwartz said her design incorporated the things that you would stereotypically see concerning health -- spiritual health using a "chakra guy", social health, a dieting chart and physical exercise.
There is a song that incorporates the Army being here in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, said Schwartz, it depicts Japan as the home for the U.S. Army, so "I wanted to throw that in there" -- the motto for Camp Zama is "The Army's Home in the Land of the Rising Sun."
Schwartz said she wanted the community to be able to take part in the overall design of the project.
"Everybody can do a hand print, even a two year old," said Schwartz, describing another aspect of the mural design, so using that concept, Schwartz had community members placed their hand prints all over the wall.
"The youngest community member to participate was a couple of month's olds and the oldest community member was 92 years old," said Schwartz.
"It took a lot of hand prints and effort to do this job," said Schwartz, the kids had a blast, because they got a chance to get messy -- "they basically hi-fived the wall!"
Schwartz also used the image of the Torii Gate, saying "your body is supposed to be a temple."
She said after incorporating the many different aspect of the mural, "the design just came together."
The important message to the community is striving for health, said Schwartz.
"We want to try to make everybody a little bit healthier. If they do that on their own accord, by walking, drinking more water or even by eating an apple a day; we wanted to get that message out."
Doing this mural project was a fun way for the community to participate in relying that message, and the turn-out was great, said Schwartz, they enjoyed it in the moment.
"It was fun to see people turn into three year olds again, from the sergeant major to the oldest colonel. They were all hi-fiving the wall," said Schwartz.
The participants help build an idea and now people can see it, Schwartz commented.
"What this mural is telling you is performance triad," said Martinez, "the best way to think about it is the word 'answer' -- A.N.S. in abbreviation."
Activity; doing 10,000 steps plus another 5,000 will help you will lose weight, tone up and get strong.
Nutrition; eating the right things such as vegetables, fruits and grains, and staying away from the saturated fats, you will be healthy and your arteries will be clean.
Sleep; getting seven to eight hours or above of sleep, you will be rested and energized to start the day again.
"Activity, nutrition and sleep… that is the answer to all your issues." said Martinez.
"This project is a reminder to all of us that we have to get enough activity, the right nutrition and enough sleep so that we can be healthy every day and not have to depend on health care; but instead be healthy and proactive," said Martinez.
"Health is a top of the spear," Martinez continued, "If you are not healthy then you feel sad and depressed."
"Healthy is performance -- its activity, and it's a lot of things in your life that will make you a better person," concluded Martinez.