News: Gunfighters, NBA kickoff DOD health program
Story by Airman 1st Class Brittany Chase
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho - Gunfighters gathered at the Fitness Center Oct. 4 to kickoff the Healthy Base Initiative, part of Operation Live Well and the president's National Prevention strategy.
To promote and educate the importance of nutrition and exercise among service members and their families, NBA Cares Hoops for Troops volunteers attended the event, showing their support for HBI.
"The event was able to get troops and their families excited about being active and eating healthy," said Lt. Col. Diltrice Thomas, 366th Force Support Squadron commander. "The idea is: from an early age, Americans need to work fitness and wise food choices into their daily lives."
The day's events included a youth basketball clinic, Gunfighter all-star five-on-five basketball game, a meet and greet with NBA legend Lenny Wilkens and WNBA star Ruthie Bolton, and concluded with a healthy barbecue cook-off.
"We were thrilled when the NBA offered to help us focus the base on healthy lifestyles," said Thomas. "Basketball is a very popular sport here, so we are grateful that a lucky few were able to receive first-hand coaching from such accomplished professional athletes and coaches."
MHAFB is one of 11 installations - one of only two Air Force bases - chosen to participate in HBI, a first-of-its-kind program aimed to help improve health and wellness in the Gunfighter community.
"The ultimate objective of the Healthy Base Initiative is to improve the health and wellness of service members and their families by reducing obesity and decreasing tobacco use," said Charles E. Milam, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. "Our vision of success is an installation that provides an environment that makes healthy choices the easy choices: a place that encourages good nutrition, active lifestyles and tobacco-free living."
While many installations were nominated, officials determined MHAFB was the best fit for this initial phase.
"Selection followed a review that considered diversity in geography, mission, personnel and resources," said Milam. "In addition, we considered dining facilities and other infrastructure necessary to support innovation. And the key to all of these considerations was leadership that is committed to an active, healthy lifestyle."
MHAFB has already implemented several Healthy Base Initiatives, such as monthly 5k events from the Fitness Center and Wing runs.
The wing is preparing to expand the fitness annex to accommodate patrons 24 hours each day, initiatives to prevent diabetes and lower childhood obesity are coming to the medical group, and tobacco-free measures will be increased to contribute to the HBI.
FSS facilities will also adopt a food-labeling system encouraging healthier choices.
"It's never too late to start a healthy lifestyle and the whole family can participate," said Thomas. "By taking a prevention-oriented approach to obesity and tobacco use, the Air Force retains healthier airmen and Mountain Home has more combat ready Gunfighters."