CAMP RED CLOUD -- The Army in Area I is moving to ensure school kids learn good health habits just as early as they learn their ABCs.
The effort looks to teach Area I youngsters the three core elements of good health -- proper sleep, nutrition and physical activity -- so they'll do well in school and develop health habits that can stay with them through life, said Capt. Ola N. Obermuller, Area I Health Nurse with the 65th Medical Brigade Health Promotion Office.
The Army calls those three elements the "Performance Triad" and has been teaching them to Soldiers for several years under an initiative of the Surgeon General of the Army, Obermuller said.
But that initiative also calls for fostering awareness of the Triad throughout the Army, not only to Soldiers but also to civilian employees, retirees and family members, including children, she said.
To reach children in Area I, Health Promotion officials held a "Performance Triad Back to School Fair" at the Casey Elementary School on Camp Casey Aug. 28 as part of the school's "meet and greet" before the scheduled Aug. 31 start of the new school year. The school is on Camp Casey in Dongducheon.
Under its Performance Triad initiative, the Army advises parents to take three main steps for their children's health:
• Establish a healthy sleep plan for the school year.
• Plan for at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise during or after school hours.
• Ensure children have at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
"What we know is, it all ties in together," said Obermuller. "If they're getting the right sleep they're going to be more focused in class.
"A good breakfast in the morning is a good way to start because when the child is sitting in class there's enough protein in their stomach to keep them full and focused," she said.
"And the activity part, what we know is that when children go out and play in sports, they feel a whole lot better about themselves, about what they're able to accomplish, to jump a little higher or run a little faster," said Obermuller.
At the back-to-school event, Obermuller and her colleagues staffed information tables with printed fact sheets that spell out just what the Performance Triad is and how to put it into practice in the daily lives of youngsters. They also gave away pens, hand sanitizer, and paper glider kits.
And they got kids physically active through exercise with hula hoops and a contest to toss wooden rings the farthest, Obermuller said.
More information on the Army Performance Triad is available online at: http://armymedicine.mil/Pages/performance-triad.aspx.
A downloadable "Back to School Toolkit" with additional information is available at: https://usaphcapps.amedd.army.mil/HIOShoppingCart/viewItem.aspx?id=706.
And there's also a free downloadable app for mobile phones. It's available by visiting the app store of your choice for iPhone, Android or Windows.
"We just want to come as a community," said Obermuller, "and give the children and the parents everything they could possibly use in their toolbox."