Army Civilian Wellness is a Department of the Army (DA) program intended to encourage civilian employees to improve readiness, resilience, and health by influencing optimal performance through positive sleep, activity, and nutrition behaviors; and supporting healthy working environments. Guidance on civilian wellness programs may be found in AR 600-63, Army Health Promotion, para 5-2c.
Elements of a comprehensive wellness program, as defined by Healthy People 2020 are:
- Supportive Social and Physical Environments
- Integration of Worksite Wellness Program into Organizational Structure
- Linkages with Related Programs (EAP, etc…)
- Screening Programs
Recommended actions to initiate wellness in your organization:
Establish a command policy promoting a culture of health and wellness at your worksite. Ensure your subordinate leaders know this is a priority for you.
Establish a healthy nutrition environment. Motivate employees to choose healthier snacks through educational awareness and labeling. Consider implementing the “Go for Green” program in your dining facilities. Promote healthy “treats” on desks (such as nuts, fruits, popcorn, etc.). Engage with your local AAFES leadership on providing healthy options in vending machines. Include healthy food options (such as veggie trays, fruit trays, lean meats, nuts, etc.) during meetings and events (i.e. ceremonies, hail/farewell events, holiday socials). Promote clean inviting food storage/eating areas (i.e. refrigerators, microwaves, break rooms).
Promote sleep as a critical component to healthy living. Communicate the benefits of adequate sleep during a variety of meetings at all levels of the work force. Employees who get adequate sleep perform at a higher level than those that do not. Adequate sleep reduces injury, improves morale, and enhances job performance.
Create a culture that supports activity throughout the day. Encourage walking or standing meetings, standing work stations, and employees taking short activity breaks. Implement bike to work days where and when appropriate. Sponsor organizational activity days built around physical fitness. Initiate a command-sponsored civilian fitness program (CFP). The individual organization that desires to implement a CFP must provide a manager for their own organization's program oversight.
Basic elements of successful CFPs
CFP Frequently Asked Questions
1) What Army Regulation covers establishing a Civilian Fitness Program (CFP)? Civilian fitness programs are governed in the Army by AR 600-63, Army Health Promotion, chapter 5-2c. Federal policies, DODD 1010.10 Health Promotion and Disease/Injury Prevention and the Federal Employee Health Program provide guidance and support the implementation of wellness and fitness programs for civilians.
2) Where do I begin? Gaining command support through a written policy memorandum is the initial step to be accomplished. Once this has been done, a community assessment of your population should be completed to determine the number of staff available and interested in participating. If your installation has an Army Wellness Center, they can partner to help provide fitness assessments. Alternatively, the fitness center staff can be engaged to help provide community wide assessments to kick off the program.
3) How long can a civilian employee stay on the program? The Army allows a government Civilian to participate once in their career. The program is time limited to one 6-month period. It includes up to 3 hours per week of administrative leave to be used for physical fitness activities. However, following the completion of the program, an employee may work with his/her supervisor on establishing a flex-time policy in order to incorporate physical fitness into the work day.
4) Can my supervisor refuse my request to participate in a CFP? Yes, participation requires supervisor approval. Participation should not impede or reduce accomplishment of the mission of the organization.
5) Do I have to be overweight or have a medical issue in order to participate? Participation is NOT dependent upon having a medical or weight control issue. However, if an individual has a history of a medical condition, a medical screening is required to ensure that anyone having an existing medical condition that would put them at risk has a physician approval before participating. If the health history and written health survey indicate no health risks are present, then the person is not required to have a physical before participating. Appropriate health care provider guidance should be obtained before beginning any fitness program.
Community Health Promotion Council involvement with CFPs
Community Health Promotion Councils (CHPC) will facilitate efforts for planning, implementing, and evaluating civilian fitness programs. The chair of the Physical Fitness Working Group of the CHPC is responsible for ensuring the status, results, and impacts of the CFP are reported at the quarterly briefings. The Health Promotion Representative will coordinate with the Physical Fitness Working Group to ensure execution in accordance with published standards; but is not a manager of any specific health promotion program.
Resources to help you get started...
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Work-Life Health and Wellness The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is committed to helping Federal agencies integrate prevention strategies into their workplace. Worksite health and wellness programs help employees modify their lifestyles and move toward an optimal state of wellness. Federal agencies are encouraged to develop and sustain programs that address the current and future needs of their employees to produce the healthiest possible workforce.
OPM Employee Health Services Manual, Chapter 2: Providing Physical Fitness Programs
Civilian Personnel On-line Wellness The Army Civilian Wellness provides access to general HQDA and DoD Health Promotion and Wellness information on health, wellness, resiliency, and financial fitness.
Federal Occupational Health Wellness/Fitness Federal Occupational Health provides the facilities, programming and support to design and implement a Wellness/Fitness program to meet the specific needs of each agency and its employees unique health and wellness interests.
CDC Workplace Health Promotion The use of effective workplace programs and policies can reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for American workers. Learn more about workplace health promotion and how to design, implement, and evaluate effective workplace health programs.
Wellness Proposals Free wellness library, guides and toolkits that contains more than 15,000 free health and wellness related handouts, posters, presentations, newsletters and more.
American Journal of Health Promotion Bookstore Site provides resources on health promotion program frameworks and workplace health promotion.