MDG innovates weight management program Published March 25, 2014 By Heidi Hunt 45th Space Wing Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Changing bad eating habits and working out is a daily battle for some, but, getting to the heart of the matter can be a struggle without the support on how to win that fight. Fortunately, the medical group recently launched an innovative program, first-ever Department of Defense support group, called Uncle Sam's Weight Warriors, and the Health and Wellness Center wants to help participants win their war. "We started this group because the number of people who are overweight or obese is increasing in the nation and in the Air Force," said Candace Croft, 45th Aerospace Medical Squadron dietitian. "We all know people who try to lose weight and keep it off but get frustrated with their efforts. Lt. Col. Glenn Donnelly, 45th AMDS commander, said another reason the group was introduced is because losing weight is a struggle, a daily and hourly battle. "That's why we have keyed in on the warrior motif for our DoD populations," Donnelly said. "Even for those who are able to make winning choices, nutrition as we understand it today has many competing theories. Uncle Sam's Weight Warriors focuses on sharing nutritional facts that are relevant and providing ongoing motivation and support. The support group model lends itself to collaborative successes where the will of the individual may fail. "We want to bring hope to those who have been warring for a long time--we want to help them win their war," Donnelly added. Croft said she believes adding the support group format helps people develop healthier lifestyles. Weight loss and maintenance can help reduce the burden of chronic disease and help people be healthier in their daily lives. "It also improves mission readiness," Croft said. Currently, patrons can make an individual appointment or join a group class but what has not been done yet is a support group. "A support group is an approach that produces good results in other settings," Croft said. A weight-management community support group for DOD beneficiaries is an exciting new opportunity to provide key missing elements to the mix of existing health and fitness resources including peer support, motivation and problem-solving, according to Croft. The innovative program also offers a missing option in the fight against being overweight and obesity. Those interested in the program can attend an informational briefing from 11 a.m. to noon, March 25, at the Base Education and Training Auditorium, 1020 Central Ave., Building 998, behind the Child Development Center. "We will present basic material and ask for feedback," Croft said. "We value opinions and plan to start the first support group meetings in April. We envision ongoing weekly meetings with two groups in the beginning and depending on demand, the number of meetings will increase with time." The program is open to active duty, air reserve components, retirees, dependents and DOD employees and anyone who is a beneficiary of the DOD and has access to the installation. For more information call the HAWC at 321-494-2660, or search The Health and Wellness Center of Patrick AFB via Facebook.