WPAFB: March is National Nutrition Month

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — March is National Nutrition Month and the 88th Medical Group Nutrition Clinic of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will hold a health fair at the base commissary 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 9.

Along with providing information on healthier eating habits, the fair will also have information on dental care, exercise and smoking cessation.

The nutrition clinic provides medical nutritional therapy for active-duty members, retirees and their dependents (over six weeks old) by offering classes and individual appointments to provide nutritional guidance for medical reasons, such as cancer, diabetes or weight management and for personal reasons, like the desire to make healthy lifestyle changes.

“People make choices about what to eat and drink every day — they are never done.” said Lt. Col. Amanda Denton, Nutritional Medicine Flight commander and Air Force Materiel Command nutrition consultant. “When you accomplish an incredible feat like quitting smoking, as hard as that is, you have achieved that goal. For the most part, you can move on. However, you can’t stop eating – you are constantly making food choices and navigating the food environment. It is an incredible benefit to have a nutrition clinic available to help support you in implementing lifestyle changes.”

Whether for blood sugar management, weight management, cholesterol, eating disorders or fussy children with weight issues, registered dietitians at the clinic can help patients achieve something sustainable to achieve a long-term, healthy lifestyle.

“The staff at the nutrition clinic is not here to judge anyone or to tell them they need to follow a perfect diet,” said Denton. “As dietitians, it is our job to help people interpret nutrition science and use that knowledge to implement changes in their lives that provide the most health benefits. Nutrition can be confusing as there is so much information out there to stay on top of. Our dietitians are held to a high professional standard and patients will get evidence-based information.”

Denton said one of the most successful programs offered by the nutrition clinic is the “Group Lifestyle Balance” program. The 22-week program helps patients execute healthy lifestyle changes whether they are pre-diabetic, overweight or just interested in improving lifestyle habits. Many patients who have participated in the Group Lifestyle Balance program successfully made healthier choices and were able to discontinue medications.

“Winning at Losing”, an introductory class to basic weight management, provides patients with the tools needed to be successful with long-term weight loss. Denton said although not mandatory, Airmen who have failed their fitness testing are encouraged to participate in this program as they can greatly benefit from this class that will help with maintaining a healthy weight.

Along with “Group Lifestyle Balance” and “Winning at Losing”, the nutrition clinic offers many other classes such as meal planning; heart-healthy, plant-based nutrition and diabetes nutrition.

“Having healthy eating habits will improve your quality of life,” said Kendra Schmuck, Nutrition Clinic manager. “When eating unhealthy, there are many side effects that you don’t even realize that you are experiencing. For instance, after consistently consuming sugar throughout the day, you are riding a sugar roller coaster where you are alert then tired, alert then tired. Also, when you eat a large meal, you become sluggish and tired.”

Schmuck said additional benefits to eating healthy is the prevention of certain types of cancers, heart disease and long-term diseases. Diabetics who maintain a healthy diet and keep their carbohydrate intake in line will feel much better overall.

“Whatever people are doing, even if it’s a fad diet, we will work with you to balance that,” said Schmuck. “If you truly want to get nutrition tailored to you and your personality, see a dietitian. They can figure out what works best for you and your lifestyle.”

The nutrition clinic is located in the hospital basement near the main elevators. Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, closed for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and on all federal holidays. For additional information on classes and programs offered at the nutrition clinic, call 937-257-8815.

In addition to the nutrition clinic’s health fair, the Civilian Health Promotion Services will hold a ‘Eat Your Greens’ health fair 8 a.m.-noon Wednesday, March 7 in the main lobby of building 16 in Area B. Health screenings, body composition analysis, trivia, incentives and more will be offered at the fair.