Yokota hosts the Healthy Base Initiative

Base Info
U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Michael Washburn/Released
U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Michael Washburn/Released

Yokota hosts the Healthy Base Initiative

by: Senior Airman Michael Washburn, 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs | .
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published: June 01, 2013

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Yokota Air Base is one of two Air Force bases and one of 13 Defense Department installations to pilot the Healthy Base Initiative recently launched by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of Military Community and Family Policy.

The Healthy Base Initiative--operating under the banner of Operation Live Well--is a Department of Defense-wide education, outreach and behavior change initiative designed to improve the health and well-being of members of the defense community, including spouses, children, retirees and DoD employees.

A Healthy Base Initiative team recently visited Yokota and assessed two areas in particular--members' health and wellness and the physical environment of the base.

The team--which included a food service expert, master chef, recreation consultant, schools expert and architectural planner--assessed Yokota's current health initiatives and assessed areas it can improve upon.

"I want to stress that the visit to Yokota was not an inspection," said Navy Capt. Kimberly Elenberg, deputy director of the U.S. Public health Service. "We're working together with base leadership to create a healthy environment."

The Healthy Base Initiative aims to promote a cultural change in attitudes and behaviors that embrace good nutrition, active lifestyles and tobacco-free living. The initiative is focused on long-term results that have a life-long impact, Elenberg said.

The initiative comes at a time when obesity and tobacco use amongst U.S. military health care beneficiaries costs the DoD $3 billion annually in lost duty days and health care costs.

At the conclusion of the week-long assessment, the HBI team met with Col. Mark August, 374th Airlift Wing commander, to discuss Yokota's current state of health. Notably, the team praised Yokota's youth activity programs, quality dining facility, wide variety of fitness classes and robust active living program.

"The preliminary feedback we received from the HBI assessment team was both positive and constructive," August said. "I'm looking forward to working with them to create opportunities that will further improve and impact the long-term health and wellness of our service members here at Yokota."

In approximately 60 days, the HBI team will present August with an in-depth, metric-based report detailing areas in which Yokota can improve.

The 13 pilot sites participating in the assessment are: Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Sub Base New London, Conn.; Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; Yokota Air Base, Japan; Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center/Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.; March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; Camp Dodge, Iowa; Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.; and Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Va.

For more information on Operation Live Well and the Healthy Base Initiative, visit http://www.militaryonesource.mil/olw.

Tags: Yokota Air Base, Base Info
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