Healthy Army Communities is an Army-wide effort to improve the health and wellness of the total Army Community. Healthy Army Communities focuses on leveraging existing best practices as well as developing strategies to help encourage healthy lifestyles, while also reshaping Army communities to support healthier places at and around Army Installations to live, learn, eat, work, play, shop and sleep. Healthy Army Communities aims to increase Readiness, Resiliency, Retention, and Recruitment by developing a total Army Culture of Health.
Why Healthy Army Communities (HAC)
From civilian life into the military, the status quo is not sustainable, nor Army Strong. Actions and activities that are unhealthy currently cost the DoD billions of dollars – in healthcare, readiness, and retention-related costs. Two main contributors; tobacco use and obesity, are estimated to account for $3B healthcare costs annually. Individual fitness practice, alone, will not make up for the detrimental impact of unhealthy food choices.
Our recruiting pool is coming into service with unhealthy habits. New soldiers just entering military service often have not followed basic menu guidance, healthy food selection and/or scheduled meal time practices. Results of this are clearly seen in the near 30% of military candidates who cannot qualify to enter the service due to being overweight. At current trajectories, by 2030, that proportion will rise to over 60% failure to meet weight standards is a leading cause of involuntary separation from the military. Of new trainees who fail pre-accession fitness tests, 31% become injured in their first 90 days; and those injured have a longer recovery time. There is also evidence that these soldiers have poor sleeping habits, either not getting enough sleep at night or poor quality sleep. A soldier who is unfit to fight, not only impacts their unit, but jeopardizes the entire Army mission.