Army Wellness Center Fitness Tracker: Using technology to sustain good health
April 10, 2013
Army Wellness Center clients are better able to track their health and wellness with the assistance of a new tool that is available at AWCs.
The Army Wellness Center Fitness Tracker is a Web-based application that collects and stores data for use by clients and AWC staff. Wayne Combs, an AWC project officer with a doctorate in nursing science, said the AWC Fitness Tracker will empower clients to track and sustain their efforts in meeting their fitness and wellness goals.
Combs, who assists in implementing new AWC's and provides oversight for existing AWC's, said the AWC Fitness Tracker is very user-friendly.
Before visiting the AWC, a client can access the AWC Fitness Tracker using a Common Access Card or secure password. The individual then completes a questionnaire that asks about aspects of personal health. Such topics as a person's nutrition, activity, sleep patterns, tobacco use, alcohol use and stress levels are addressed in the questionnaire. After the person completes the survey, a summary of responses and a "wellness" score are provided. Based on a client's responses, AWC staff can tailor services to meet the client's needs and desires. All results from testing and services provided are also stored permanently in the AWC Fitness Tracker.
"The software provides feedback to clients to help them reach and maintain their fitness and wellness goals," said Combs.
Additionally, the AWC Fitness Tracker allows the individual to see how their results compare to other people similar to them.
"It's a barometer that allows a person to see if their results are below average, average or above average when compared to people of the same age and gender across the United States," said Combs.
"No matter where Soldiers and their families go, the AWC Fitness Tracker will follow from duty station to duty station," said Combs. "It provides continuity in maintaining fitness and wellness."
Another benefit of the AWC Fitness Tracker is that it has been designed in collaboration with the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program. This program aims to increase the physical and psychological health, resilience and enhanced performance of Soldiers and retirees, their families and Army civilians.
Combs said the AWC Fitness Tracker provides an additional benefit for the Army because it provides a springboard for education, prevention and referral to services at the AWC and other facilities. He also said the AWC Fitness Tracker provides a way for AWCs to evaluate their effectiveness.
"In the past, the Army did not have a reliable way of evaluating the impact of services that AWCs provide," said Combs.
The AWC Fitness Tracker will help in evaluating whether they make a difference to the fitness and wellness of AWC users.
"We can look at individuals' records when they arrive at the AWC, and then follow their results and behavior over time," said Combs. "We will be able to tell if they have made and sustained healthy behavior changes, and if AWC services are having a positive impact on their fitness and wellness."
The AWC program is a U.S. Army Medical Command initiative that is managed by the U.S. Army Public Health Command. The purpose of the program is to support Patient-Centered Medical Home as the health education arm for the healthcare team to enhance and sustain healthy lifestyles through standardized primary prevention programs and services.
AWC's are a key element in the Army surgeon general's long-term strategy of refocusing Army medicine from a healthcare system to a system for health by emphasizing primary prevention, which means stopping diseases and chronic conditions before they start. AWC core programs include a health assessment review, physical fitness, healthy nutrition, stress management, general wellness education, and tobacco education.
To access the Army Wellness Center Fitness Tracker, visit https://www.sft.army.mil/awc.