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Yokota school fights childhood obesity
Yokota West elementary students enjoy a healthy snack during the last day of the Club 2-1-5-0 assessment on March 20, 2014, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Two programs from Yokota were selected as best practice programs for childhood obesity prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Soo C. Kim / Released)
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Healthy living starts early for Yokota students

Posted 3/27/2014   Updated 4/2/2014 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Soo C. Kim
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/27/2014 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Two health and wellness programs targeting childhood obesity at Yokota Air Base's West Elementary School have been selected as "best practices" in the Department of Defense - Club 2-1-5-0 and Recess Before Lunch.

Both programs, adapted under the Healthy Base Initiative program at Yokota, encourage an ample increase in physical activity and promote healthy eating habits.

"Club 2-1-5-0 stands for no two hours of TV or less, one hour of physical activity, five servings of fruits and vegetables, and zero calories for drinks," said Lily Bagtas, the Yokota West Elementary nurse. "The program teaches kids how to eat healthy, learn and enjoy different physical activities that are good for their health and well-being to perform better in school."

The Recess Before Lunch program allows students to get involved in physical activity prior to consumption of nutrients, which according to the School Nutrition Association, showed increased intake of nutrient-rich foods and lower than average fat.

"The students eat and drink more at lunch, and I see fewer students in my office complaining of stomachache," Bagtas said.

During the 10-week-long assessment, students were taught entertaining ways to stay physically active, such as participating in games and sports. The students were also taught methods to stay mentally healthy and focused through classes in goal-setting, stress reduction and making right decisions.

"The program taught me to play more outside. It's the easier way to lose weight," said Jocelyn Gueits, 11, 5th grader at Yokota West. "I used to not like running and playing outside as much, but now that has changed. We spend a couple hours a day running around or playing tag."

The 10-week assessment ended March 20, with the collection of post-biometric results from the students.

"The ultimate goal of these programs is [childhood] obesity prevention through nutrition, lifestyle changes and physical activities," Bagtas said.

The program, once finalized, aims to be adopted in all Department of Defense schools to prevent childhood obesity.

Yokota Air Base is one of two Air Force bases and one of 13 Defense Department installations to pilot the Healthy Base Initiative launched by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of Military Community and Family Policy.

The Healthy Base Initiative--operating under the banner of Operation Live Well--is a Department of Defense-wide education, outreach and behavioral change initiative designed to improve the health and well-being of members of the defense community, including spouses, children, retirees and Department of Defense employees.

For more information on Operation Live Well and the Healthy Base Initiative, visit military one source.

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