FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Developing a healthy lifestyle is important for both children and parents, and Fort Rucker health and Child, Youth and School Services officials hosted the annual Health and Nutrition Fair at the CYSS gym to help both do just that April 6.

Military children had the opportunity to get information on healthy eating, staying active and exercising good dental hygiene, as well as having their sight and hearing screened, and height and weight checked, said Sharlene Phillips, CYSS sports specialist and event coordinator.

"April is the Month of the Military Child and this event helps children to realize their growth process," she said. "It helps them learn about proper nutrition and introduces them to a wide variety of activities and how to be safe while participating in those activities."

Introducing children to healthy lifestyles early on is the main focus of the fair, Phillips said, but it's also a chance for parents to get more information for themselves and their lifestyles, too.

"This year was the first time we had a local chef participate," she said. "We also had the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation nutritionist who helped children and parents learn about what's healthy for them and how to make it a regular part of their lives. This event has been really eye-opening."

Children participating in the fair also had an opportunity to get information about working out and what kind of activities and facilities are available to them on post.

"A lot of people don't realize that (Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility) is 'kid-friendly,'" Mandy Wynn, Fortenberry-Colton PFF fitness program coordinator, said. "We want to make sure our youth are well-educated and we're starting a Spring Break program we want to let people know about. This also gives us a chance to encourage children to get outside and get away from the computer or video games and just have fun while being active."

Jeff Atkins, Fort Rucker Wellness Center licensed practical nurse, said teaching children about taking care of themselves now can save them from having possible health issues in the future.

"We gave them information about the negative effects of smoking, drinking and other things they might be tempted to get into as they get older," he said. "We also hope the kids will take the information we're giving them and take it home to the parents. That way, we're not just teaching the children, we're passing it to the parents as well."

Cindy Crawford, military spouse, said the event was a great way for her children to get important information from another source.

"Actually seeing this information, being able to put their hands on it and having someone else tell them about nutrition besides me makes a big difference," she said. "I thought being able to see an exhibit on fat and calories made it seem more real. We've been working on making changes in the house and I think this is going to help motivate us even more."

For more information on the health fair, call 255-9105 or visit