JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. —
On Aug. 1, 2019, the 11th Security Forces Squadron joined Joint Base Andrews Health Promotion’s Project Health and Readiness Optimization (HeRO).
The HeRO project is an Air Force program designed to help Airmen eat better, be more active, optimize their sleep, maintain a healthy weight and live tobacco-free lives.
Health-related behaviors and health outcomes can impact mission readiness. Project HeRO uses SCIENTIFIC data to help Airmen improve these behaviors.
“If you lose an Airman for a day from a preventable health behavior, or if they are not performing at their best, then that is a real impact on readiness,” said Ms. Sylvia Goff, Joint Base Andrews Health Promotion coordinator.
Project HeRO provides standard, evidence-based strategies and interventions, and offers a framework for implementing them successfully to health promotion offices.
“We want to be the spark that ignites a unit to improve their habits and overall readiness” said Goff.
Taking a data-driven and evidence-based approach helps health promotion teams make the case to squadron leadership. Commanders are uniquely positioned to create a culture of health in the unit and be a positive influence on the health and well-being of our Airmen.
“Data since 2017 shows 64.8% of Airmen are at an unhealthy weight according to Body Mass Index (BMI) goals, only 21.1% are consuming the recommended serving amounts of fruits and vegetables, and only 40.7% are getting the recommended 7 or more hours of sleep per night,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Bell, 11th Security Forces Squadron commander. “We want to help our Defenders build healthier habits to optimize their performance. Project HeRO compliments our Defender Performance Optimization (DPO) initiative, an effort to develop stronger, more lethal and resilient Defenders”
Project HeRO is structured as one year’s worth of educational, skill-building interventions and utilizes a community approach to promote healthy behavior. Additionally, policy and environmental approaches will aim to make healthy choices easier with updated policies focused on health and improvements made to the environment, such as improving access to healthy foods and increased opportunity for physical activity and sleep awareness.