Active Living
Army Civilian Wellness Programs 

The Army Civilian Wellness / Fitness Program is a Department of the Army (DA) program intended to encourage Civilian employees to improve their health and fitness through exercise and other positive health benefits. Guidance on Civilian fitness programs may be found in AR 600-63External Link, Army Health Promotion, para 5-2c.

 Basic elements and requirements of the program

  • Civilians are authorized up to three hours per week excused absence to participate in a Command-sponsored formal physical exercise training program.
  • Duration of program is up to six months.
  • Pre- and post-program participant evaluations are required.
  • Participants are monitored continuously during the program.
  • Program must include exercise and nutritional education.
  • Program is offered one time only per person.
  • Participation requires commander's/supervisor's approval.  Supervisors may adjust work schedules to permit training and exercise where possible and when it is consistent with the workload and mission.

Note for program participants: Appropriate health care provider guidance should be obtained before beginning any fitness program.

Community Health Promotion Council involvement

Community Health Promotion Councils (CHPC) will recommend, coordinate, and ensure the integration of physical health and wellness programs.  The CHPC will assist in coordination efforts for planning, implementing, and evaluating civilian fitness programs. Civilian Fitness is the responsibility/or one component of the Physical Fitness Working Group of the CHPC.  As a result, the chair of that working group is responsible for ensuring that it is reported as a part of their quarterly brief on the status, results, impacts etc.  The Health Promotion Officer (HPO) is responsible for ensuring that the Physical Fitness Working Group executes in accordance with published standards; and if not, make recommendations for changes or process improvement. The HPO is not a manager of any specific health promotion program. The individual organization that desires to implement a civilian fitness program must provide a manager for their own organization's program oversight.

The Targeting Fitness Manual, developed to assist local wellness and health promotion coordinators in program implementation, is currently in revision.  It will be available in the future at this location.

To help you get started...

U.S. Office of Personnel Management Elements of a Comprehensive Worksite Wellness ProgramExternal Link
Most Federal employees have access to comprehensive health insurance benefits that also include preventive services.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management promotes and supports balanced, effective combinations of worksite wellness programs and insurance benefits to produce the healthiest possible workforce.

The elements of a comprehensive worksite wellness program, as defined by Healthy People 2010 are:

  • Health Education
  • Supportive Social and Physical Environments
  • Integration of Worksite Wellness Program into Organizational Structure
  • Linkages with Related Programs (EAP, etc…)
  • Screening Programs

U.S. Office of Personnel Management HEALTHIERFEDS Employee Health Services HandbookExternal Link
Chapter 2 contains information on providing Physical Fitness Programs

DoD Civilian Personnel Management Service WorkLife Personal WellnessExternal Link 
Personal wellness includes all of the things you can do to maintain your physical and mental health.  This Personal Wellness section contains information, tools, and resources to help you work and live as fully as possible.

Civilian Personnel On-line WellnessExternal Link
The Army Civilian Wellness Program for access to general HQDA and DoD Health Promotion and Wellness information on health, wellness, resiliency, and financial fitness.

Washington Headquarters Services Employee Wellness ProgramExternal Link
Civilian Fitness & Wellness Program is designed to promote healthy lifestyles and enhance employee worklife. Program participants can choose to participate in covered fitness/ exercise activities or wellness education activities.

Employee Wellness Program, Civilian Personnel On-lineExternal Link
Note the description of the required components of a Command-sponsored formal physical exercise training program in paragraph 3.

Federal Occupational Health Wellness/FitnessExternal Link 
Specific services offered by FOH in the development of a comprehensive wellness/fitness program for a particular agency.

IMCOM Civilian Wellness (AKO)External Link 
IMCOM G-1 Human Resources support documents for civilian wellness programming that includes a sample civilian wellness program enrollment packet and wellness program library with sample civilian fitness program ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1) What Army Regulation covers establishing a Civilian Fitness Program?  Civilian fitness programs are governed in the Army by AR 600-63, Army Health Promotion, chapter 5-5c.  There are also DoD and federal policies that provide guidance and support the implementation of wellness and fitness programs for Civilians.  They are DODD 1010.10 Health Promotion and Disease/Injury Prevention External Link and the Federal Employee Health Program External LinkIt is up to the individual organizations to plan and use the specific resources and programs they want and that best fit the needs of their employees.   

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 find out how many of the staff are available and interested in participating.  

3)  How long can a Civilian employee stay on the program?   The Army allows a government Civilian to participate once.  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. 

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, a medical screening is highly recommended to be sure 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.

Additional Resources for Coordinators

WellnessProposals  External Link Free wellness library, guides and toolkits that contains more than 15,000 free health and wellness related handouts, posters, presentations, newsletters and more.

CDC Worksite Program, Work@Health External Link Employer training program that will launch in early 2014. One arm of the program is an employer-focused curriculum for those who wish to implement workplace health programs in their own worksites and the other is a train-the-trainer curriculum for those who are interested in training others to implement workplace health programs. The train-the-trainer curriculum begins with a review of the employer curriculum. Both arms cover the basics of design, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive programs.

CDC Workplace Health Incentives Information External Link These presentation slides provide information on the types and uses of incentives, designing an incentives-based program, and the laws, regulations and ethical guidelines for using incentives in workplace health programs.

CDC National Healthy Worksite ProgramExternal Link Worksite health promotion program resources, training, and tools to assist in the implementation of a comprehensive, evidence-based wellness program.

CDC Workplace Health Promotion  External Link This site is a toolkit to provide information, tools, resources, and guidance to practitioners interested in establishing or enhancing workplace health and safety programs. 

American Journal of Health Promotion External Link Site provides resources (books, webinars, articles) on health promotion program programming and implementation.