Nutrition: Not just a monthly observance but a lifestyle

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign observed annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices, and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

Although March has been named National Nutrition Month, the dieticians in the clinic at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, support their patients in making heathy lifestyle changes year-round.

“Healthcare to Health offers ongoing weekly classes on base and in Brandon to support people in making changes in their lifestyle choices,” said Julie Schwartz, a dietician assigned to the 6th Medical Operations Squadron.

Classes are offered to dependents, spouses and retirees, and are held at the MacDill Clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Classes are held at the Brandon Clinic on Tuesdays. In addition, the Nutritional Medicine team offers classes for diabetes education, and the Health Promotion program offers a variety of classes focused toward active duty personnel.

For the classes, the Behavioral Health Optimization Program collaborates with the Nutritional Medicine team to discuss nutrition, activity, motivation, problem solving, stress management, sleep and a host of other topics to empower their patients to be in control of their health.

“Through taking this class, I have learned that nutrition plays in to your health,” said Anibal Perez, retired Army medic and attendee of a class offered at the Nutritional Medicine Clinic. “The classes are also great for camaraderie and the sharing of information. It really opens your eyes.

“The class has allowed me to see that I am not by myself with my struggles; it helps you push yourself a little farther.”

To help all of their patients better understand nutrition, H2H will partner with the commissary on March 21 at 12:30p.m. for a grocery tour.

“Shopping informed is shopping smart,” said Schwartz. “Small steps make big differences. In choosing a healthier meal or snack, be sure that the food is tasty and appealing.”

The Nutritional Medicine Clinic also plans to be visible in the MacDill Clinic lobby at least once per week to bring awareness to how small steps can lead to big payoffs in health and quality of life.

For personalized information, anyone can make an appointment with the three registered dietitian nutritionists at the MacDill clinic by calling 813-827-9360.