Operation Live Well Kicks Off on Post

FORT SILL Okla_ Fort Sill kicked off its 'Operation Live Well' Thursday with activities that got the community active and eating right.

From Zumba to cooking classes to an Oklahoma City Thunder basketball clinic, there was something for all ages. Thursday is only the start of the year-long campaign to get soldiers, their families, and retirees excited about living healthy.

Healthier soldiers and families could mean big savings for the Department of Defense, as much as $3B per year in healthcare costs. So, Fort Sill revealed the new wellness tools it has to offer to help its community improve its health.

"It's a great day because we are going to celebrate living healthy," Fort Sill Commanding General Mark McDonald said.

For McDonald, Thursday's launch of Operation Live Well is a unique opportunity to make Fort Sill even better. The post was only 1/2 army bases selected to implement the Department of Defense's effort to decrease obesity and improve overall health.

"It's about awareness of how to have a healthy lifestyle, how to eat properly, exercise, get out and move," McDonald said.

Fort Sill would not be able to encourage these things without the proper resources for its soldiers. So Thursday, they launched Fort Sill's new Army Wellness Center.

"It's an opportunity for them to have a resource for nutrition physical fitness, BMI, things of that sort. So, we are excited," Captain Jasmin Gregory, Army Public Health Nurse said.

It's only the 11th one in the world. Inside, members of the Fort Sill community will find state-of-the-art equipment and a trained staff that can provide them with all the tools they need for a healthy lifestyle.

"We don't want people just to diet," Wellness Center Team Leader Allyson Pritchard said. "We want them to change their behaviors, and we want to facilitate their adoption of a healthier lifestyle."

The Wellness Center is the foundation for Operation Live Well. Gregory said that these lifestyle changes would never happen without events like Thursday's that show people healthy living can be fun and easy.

"It's amazing to see the kids out here dancing and moving," Gregory said, "Seeing the soldiers out here along with our community partners."

Gregory said healthy living takes a community effort. Even our own Jan Stratton helped with the presentation during a healthy cooking class Thursday. It's all because of what a healthy lifestyle can do for the community.

"When you are healthy, you feel better. When you feel better, you are more active and can get out into the community and be more productive, not only at home but for your community," Gregory said.

Thursday was only the start of Operation Live Well. There will be more fitness and education opportunities throughout the upcoming year.

Operation Live Well is part of the healthy base initiative launched by the Department of Defense this Spring.