Staying fit can present a challenge for Soldiers and their families, especially with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Defense and Health Administration seeks to help people get back on track. Recently, the spouses of military senior noncommissioned officers visited the Military Wellness Center located in Fort Belvoir, Virginia to explore the center’s services. The goal was to see how these services apply to military personnel, their families, and DoD civilians. It was confirmed that the wellness center began as an Army program in 2008, and it has since expanded to include all services.
Nicole Leth, director of the Fort Belvoir Military Wellness Center, noted that the center provides healthy behavior change to military personnel, their families, veterans, and DoD civilians through science-based education, coaching, and technology. She designed the program to ensure the well-being of all the guests. According to Janet Colón, the senior enlisted adviser to Chairman Ramón “CZ” Colón Lopez, the key takeaways from the visit were to raise awareness and ensure personal accountability. The program focuses on the preventative aspect of daily attributes.
Les explained that the classes offered at the 35 military wellness centers located across various locations are the same. This means that military personnel can move from one location to another and still get consistent service. They will get the same assessment, care, and education, which is great for continuity of care. Les stressed that there are advanced technologies that can monitor progress, and even test the resting metabolic rate. The fitness test can also help determine one’s cardiovascular health.
The military wellness centers are available to everyone. While most centers are currently situated on army bases, they are expected to be available throughout the joint force shortly. Les also noted that family involvement is vital. The center takes seriously the value of family and spouse care to ensure a combatant’s readiness. Les herself has been a military spouse for 18 years, and her husband has served for over 25. She emphasized how important it is for families to take health and wellness goals seriously, and work together to achieve them.