Fueling the Future

Thursday August 30, 2012

What is it?

U.S. Army Europe's Fueling the Future initiative runs parallel to and augments the command's Fueling the Team program, and is directly related to the Army's Soldier Fueling Initiative. Fueling the Future is a program to educate and inform elementary school-aged children about nutrition and wellness and to motivate them and their families to eat healthier and be more active. The initiative also rounds out the Fueling the Team program, which focuses on food and information provided in dining facilities, as well as training provided during in-processing, at Family Readiness Group meetings and other Soldier- and spouse-oriented venues.

If the initiative proves successful, USAREUR officials will recommend that it become a model for the entire Army.

What has the Army done?

The initiative takes a three-pronged approach by focusing on nutrition and wellness in the schools, home and community. The leader of the initiative has met with school officials and teachers to combine and coordinate existing elementary school curricula, monthly nutrition instruction and activities. She also provided parents with a resource guide with recommended menus, shopping lists and fitness activities.

What efforts does the Army have planned?

Planned student activities include commissary field trips led by an Army nutritionist, cooking classes with members of the command's culinary arts team, fitness sessions with special guests, and visits from community members whose jobs require them to be fit. Organizers will also distribute a monthly wellness update to parents.

Organizers will work with community service providers who work with children, including the School-Age Center; Child, Youth and School Services; and the Teen Center, as well as youth groups such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, to provide the same emphasis on good nutrition and physical activity. The community will also become involved in this initiative through community-sponsored wellness events and participation in established wellness resources such as the Wellness Center. Other agencies are supporting the effort as well, such as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Europe Region, which just announced that it will improve the nutritional value of meals served under the school lunch program it operates at DOD Dependent Schools across the theater.

Why is this important to the Army?

Strong families help make strong Soldiers, strong Soldiers make strong teams, and strong teams make a strong Army. The 21st-century Soldier will be better able to maintain a high level of stamina to endure the demands of combat when all members of the Soldier's family eat well and embrace an active lifestyle.

Resources:

U.S. Army Europe
Europe Regional Medical Command
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness

Army Go For Green (PDF)

STAND-TO!: U.S. Army in Europe's Fueling the Team program
STAND-TO!: Soldier Athlete Initiative

Related articles:
U.S. Army Europe kicks off campaign to enlist community in 'Fueling the Future'
Health by stealth: Army DFACs swap in greener menus
"Fueling the Team" for Better Health and Performance

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