Improving health and wellness can seem like a monumental task, but there are a number of resources available to the Fort Leonard Wood community.

One of those resources is the Army Wellness Center, which acts as a representative for the Army's Performance Triad and strives to maintain a positive culture of health.

The AWC mission is to "provide integrated and standardized primary prevention programs and services that promote enhanced and sustained healthy lifestyles to improve the overall well-being of active-duty military and Family members."

Success is accomplished by using evidence-based assessments, leveraging technology and taking a proactive approach that empowers the client to achieve their personal goals.

There are six core programs, including health assessment review, physical fitness, healthy nutrition, stress management, tobacco education and general wellness education.

The health assessment review is the foundation of developing an individualized program for the AWC client.

During the review, health educators gauge what risk stratification the client is currently in and what changes are needed to reduce risk factors for disease based on information they provide. This also allows the health educator to identify which clients may need permission from their health care provider to take part in a physical fitness program.

During the physical-fitness appointment, the client will complete exercise testing and be provided with an exercise prescription. The objective of exercise testing is to establish a baseline for the health educators to educate the client on a starting point to improve physical fitness.

The health educators can work with the client to prescribe an appropriate exercise program to help the client meet their physical fitness and/or health goals.

Lifestyle modifications, such as healthy nutrition, also rely on an understanding of both body composition and metabolism. During the first appointment, a client will complete a body composition analysis.

Body composition analysis educates the client on his/her body fat as well as reviews the difference between body fat and body mass index. To change body composition, clients must have an understanding of metabolism. The AWC staff evaluates resting metabolic rate and educates clients on general ways to eat to fuel their metabolism for weight loss, weight maintenance, or performance goals.

Stress can cause many health-related issues that can impact any individual.

General education on stress management, along with individual biofeedback appointments, teaches clients healthy stress relief techniques.

During a biofeedback session, clients will review deep breathing, mindfulness, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation techniques to gain information on which technique works best for reducing stress.

The AWC staff helps clients modify lifestyle behaviors through education and coaching.

Tobacco education is another core program offered, where the health educators assess a client's readiness to quit tobacco usage.

Through education, motivational interviewing, goal setting and connecting tobacco users to the appropriate resources, clients are helped to quit tobacco use.

The center's core programs fall in line with the Performance Triad to help improve the readiness of the force through getting quality sleep, engaging in activity and improving nutrition. More information on the Performance Triad can be found at www.PerformanceTriad.mil.

The Army Wellness Center, by promoting the Performance Triad and sustaining a culture of health, is a great resource for our community.

Between educational resources, subject matter experts and state-of-the-art testing, the AWC provides one of the best opportunities for the Fort Leonard Wood community to improve its health and wellness.

Contact the Army Wellness Center at 573.329.1900 to schedule appointments or ask a health care professional for a referral.

(Editor's note: Angela Glynn is the Culture of Health Campaign action officer at Fort Leonard Wood.)