Warrior Care and Transition staff urged to ‘walk the talk’ in 26-week Health Challenge

WTU Force Structure Performance Triad 26-Week Health Challenge, beginning spring 2017, encourages WCT staff to improve readiness, resilience and health by influencing optimal performance through positive sleep, activity, and nutrition behaviors.

By John M. Rosenberg, Warrior Care and Transition

January 23, 2017 – Over a six month period beginning in the spring of 2017, the staff of the United States Army Medical Command’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Warrior Care and Transition will grow accustomed to thinking in terms of another kind of triad in addition to the Triad of Care that is their usual center of attention.

WCT personnel will undertake the task of improving their overall health within three components— sleep, activity, and nutrition by participating in the Performance Triad 26-Week Health Challenge.

As an organization whose enduring mission is to ensure that wounded, ill and injured Soldiers receive world class care, it’s only fitting that those who oversee this care “walk the talk and not just preach healthy habits,” says Lt. Col. Annie Cichocki, Action Officer, Clinical Liaison Division, Warrior Care and Transition.

Cichocki, a licensed dietician, came up with the Health Challenge in part to help the WCT come together as an organization and to set healthier goals. “We are also aligning with the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States Army guidelines in regards to issues that impact the health of Department of Defense personnel,” says Cichocki.

Additionally, says Cichocki, when employees take care of themselves it increases productivity, though she freely admits that achieving results along all three components of the Triad can be difficult given people’s busy schedules. Nonetheless, Cichocki says, “If individuals take ownership of their health they can experience results regardless of how busy they may be each and every day.”

“That is what we want to do with the Challenge— move to health,” says Cichocki. “It’s a 26-week challenge across eight elements. If you look in the mirror after the first day, will you see six-pack abs? Of course not. If you look one week later? Of course not. But in six months… yes.”

According to Cichocki, participating WCT staff will enter the Challenge individually or as members of a team, focusing on eight elements within the Triad: sleep, nutrition, activity, personal development, physical surroundings, spiritual, family/social relationships, and emotional well-being. This will entail a number of enhancements such as establishing a better wind-down routine before bedtime, finding new and healthy recipes to prepare and to increasing aerobic activity and intensity.

“How often do we come together as an organization?” asks Cichocki. “Here is an opportunity to do more as a group, whether it’s riding a bicycle, running, or learning about nutrition. Together we can achieve tangible results!”