GRAND FORKS AIR FORKS BASE, North Dakota —
Assessing the physical health of the whole wing and implementing evidence-based programs to influence healthy lifestyle change is a difficult task for an office.
That’s the unique challenge for Anna Ojczyk, health promotion program coordinator for the 319th Reconnaissance Wing.
As the sole member of the health promotion service, Ojczyk does his best to educate, support and prevent any adverse outcomes in the wing’s physical fitness caused by nutrition, physical activity, sleep and tobacco and nicotine products.
One evidence-based program that Ojczyk started at Grand Forks Air Force Base is a nutrition-focused tour for first-term Airmen fresh out of basic training and technical school.
“I wanted to give young Airmen an opportunity to actually go through the commissary and talk about affordable ways to eat healthy,” Ojcik said. “They’re in the store picking up fruit and vegetables; we talk about choosing lean meats, how to make a microwave baked potato, how to choose your fruit, compare prices and how to read nutrition labels.
Not all of her programs are group-focused; the health promotion office also provides more individualized care. The InBody 570 body composition analyzer enables airmen to assess their current body composition.
“InBody helps you get a good idea of where your body is,” Ojcik said. “I have people coming in trying to lose weight, people trying to build muscle, and people with all kinds of goals.”
The body composition tool is a much better indicator of where a person’s body is than the scale, said frequent InBody user Capt. Cody Chain, a bio-environmental engineer with the 319th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron.
“At one point I was using the InBody once a week,” Cheyne said. “It’s a tool that gives you a good idea of how your workouts are working for you and allows you to create a plan for yourself.”
After a user steps off the InBody, it provides a printout for a comprehensive body composition analysis that includes a person’s weight divided by total water weight, dry lean mass, and body fat. InBody also provides muscle fat analysis, obesity analysis, segmental muscle mass analysis, along with several other areas to give users a good baseline of the state of their physical health.
A healthy diet combined with a fitness goal is a good start to improving overall fitness, but lack of sleep is another area that people may need help with sometimes.
Ojcik said the 319th Civil Engineering Fire Fighting Squadron reached out to her for help improving measures to combat sleep deprivation.
“These sleep guidelines ensure that members get enough time for quality sleep the next day if, for example, they had to fight a fire all night,” Ojcik said.
While firefighters may encounter fires with toxic smoke and fumes, Ojczyk and the health promotion office have their own harmful carcinogens to contend with.
“I provide smoking cessation services, mostly connecting people to resources,” Ojcik said. “If people call me and say they want to quit using tobacco, vaping or nicotine products, I can connect them with the resources available to them.”
Quitting isn’t just about using nicotine, it’s also about eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke. The Office of Health Promotion along with Col. Timothy Curry, 319th RW commander, ensure the Grand
Forks AFB remains a tobacco-free installation, prohibiting the use of tobacco in all areas except those designated for tobacco.
Making impactful changes in the health of entire key populations—tobacco use, nutritional diets, physical fitness, and sleep patterns—is no small task.
Ojczyk said even though she’s just one person, she’s willing to help point people in the right direction for the help they need.
“The main goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle,” Ojcik said. “We know that behavior change doesn’t just happen with knowledge, you have to have skills and abilities as well as an environment.”
Grand Forks AFB is continually committed to improving the physical environment for Airmen in hopes that the healthy choice is the easy choice. The information above includes just a few examples of how the health promotion service can and has had an impact. Airmen, civilian employees, supervisors, senior leaders and commanders with questions about how the Health Promotion Office can help, individual or workplace, should contact the Health Promotion Office at 701-747-5918 or via Facebook at Grand Forks health care promotion page.