HAWC observes National Nutrition Month Published March 13, 2014 By Senior Airman Shane M. Phipps 30th Space Wing Public Affairs VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For more than 30 years, regions throughout the nation have observed National Nutrition Month in their own ways. At VAFB's Health and Wellness Center, it's a month to encourage nutritious lifestyles while focusing on healthy eating habits for military and civilian personnel alike. "For us, this month is really highlighting the importance of nutrition," said Dale Collins, 30th Medical Operations Squadron exercise physiologist. "Seventy to eighty percent of your health is the nutrition. Comparatively, the exercise is the easy part. What you feed your body really determines what you're going to get out of it." The vast resources provided by the HAWC are not only available to active-duty members, but dependents and retirees as well. "We do a lot of things," explained Melinda Reed, 30th MDOS registered dietician. "We offer diabetic classes, cholesterol classes, weight loss classes, healthy eating classes and one-on-ones. We do it all, and it doesn't cost a thing to come see us. If you went downtown and paid out-of-pocket you're talking 100 bucks per hour!" Although regular exercise is important to good health, experts agree nutrient-rich foods are essential. "Clean, healthy food is vital, as opposed to processed foods with no nutritional value," said Collins. "What you put into your body determines how well your body is going to perform, and if you're not giving it the right nutrients, carbs, proteins and fats, it's not going to perform at its peak." For members of the HAWC, simply increasing awareness through educational classes and exercises is fundamental to changing nutritional habits. "Education is a huge part of what we do," said Collins. "We learn new things every day in the nutrition and fitness field, and sometimes small changes can have big results but if you don't know to make the change, nothing's going to happen." Considering the demanding nature of military life, the HAWC is now making it easier than ever before to learn more about health and wellness. "One of the big things we're moving towards is going out into the units," said Collins. "We offer a variety of classes but we can also tailor a class to whatever a unit is most concerned with. We're always here and are open to work with people before hours or even after hours, so please let us know!" For more information, contact Dale Collins at 805-606-2221, or Melinda Reed at 805-606-3404.