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NEWS | April 29, 2014

Small health changes can yield big results

By Guard Your Health

ARLINGTON, Va. - Army National Guard Soldiers, families, and community members nationwide committed to improving their health during Guard Your Health's "Small Steps to a Healthier You" Challenge in March.

Guard Your Health, a health and medical readiness initiative out of the Army National Guard Chief Surgeon's Office, launched the 28-day challenge on March 1. The challenge demonstrated how small changes in habitscan have a big impact on health by asking participants to adopt one simple health change each day. The steps touched on every aspect of health, from eating better to stretching to expressing gratitude.

"We're thrilled with the level of participation," said Army National Guard Chief Surgeon Col. (Dr.) Anne Naclerio. "We saw 1,260 participants accept the challenge, and more than 1,440 daily challenges accepted. Each daily step shared health tips from the Guard Your Health website and social media pages, and encouraged individuals to overcome the biggest hurdle to improving their health - getting started."

The Small Steps Challenge was embraced by Guard Soldiers across the country, and received promotion from 30 Department of Defense entities, 16 nonprofit organizations, and major military websites, including army.mil and nationalguard.mil.

While the challenge is complete, the Guard Your Health "Small Steps" Web page still provides recommended small daily health changes at http://www.guardyourhealth.com/smallsteps/.

"Guard Soldiers are so busy balancing their military duties with civilian jobs and other commitments, that their personal health and fitness can get shortchanged," Naclerio said. "Small Steps reassures us that it's not an all-or-nothing proposition. Just a little more awareness and small changes can add up to big improvements in overall health."

The National Guard motto is 'Always Ready, Always There,' and the Guard Your Health campaign, through efforts like the Small Steps Challenge, is intended to help build and sustain a resilient, adaptable, and medically ready Citizen-Soldier force.