51st AMDS nutritional medicine encourages healthy diet

by Senior Airman Matthew Lancaster, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Osan Air Base

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- This is the fifth in a series of articles relating to an overview of the 51st Fighter Wing priorities at Osan Air Base. The major role Team Osan plays in the Republic of Korea and the extent of its mission will be showcased this week in howTeam Osan "Strengthens the base and team." Next week, we will conclude this series with a wrap-up article and a video reiterating the importance of the wing's priorities.

When it comes to strengthening oneself, few ideas get more traction than the physical aspect. If New Year's at the gym is any indication, people frequently and fervently resolve to strengthen themselves physically. And while going to the gym and working out is a good way to stay in shape, it's only half of the process. There's another, equally vital part of strengthening oneself, the base and team, and that's keeping a healthy and nutritious diet.

The 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron Nutritional Medical shop has the job of giving their teammate the knowledge to make these improvements. They provide consultations for military members who require assistance with their eating habits. They also give one-on-one counseling sessions to people who require information about diabetes, hypertension, weight management, and general nutrition.

During counseling, nutrition medical technicians assess someone's diet by asking them about the types of food they eat, when and how often they eat, if they work out and how often they work out. Then they suggest diet plans that can help that person meet their goal of losing or gaining weight or lower their cholesterol. After a couple of months patients can go back in for a follow up appointment to see if they are making progress with their health goals.

"Everyone needs to have the proper nutrition," said Senior Airman David Letteer, 51st AMDS diet therapy technician. "Those that don't have the right nutrition wouldn't be able to do their jobs efficiently. We in the nutritional medicine help to steer those people back to that healthy diet they need."

In order for someone to know if they have a healthy diet they must pay attention to the types of food they eat and the types of nutrients the food provide. The amount of calories a person should intake on a daily basis depends on their size, age and fitness level. Eating a balanced amount of each food group will help to gain the three sources of energy of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to sustain a healthy diet.

"If you focus too much on one type of food category and not enough of another, it can lead to different health problems," said Staff Sgt. Derek Williams, 51st AMDS NCO in charge of outpatient education. "For example, if you eat too many meats and no vegetables it can raise your cholesterols and cause you to develop heart problems."

Another duty nutritional medicine has is to provide meals to patients who stay in the inpatient clinic. In order for to give the patient a meal that will help them get better, they must ask the them about their eating habits, weight gain or loss, if they have taken any medical supplements and any food they have allergies or intolerances to. With this information, they would be able to get the best food for that person to recover from their ailment.

Nutritional medicine has also partnered up with the Osan middle school to arrange visits. Through these visits they hope to educate the children about a healthy diet and what type of food would be good for them to eat.

"It's better to have nutritional awareness when you are young," said Letteer. "If you eat horribly when you are young, it will hurt you in the long run."

For more information on nutrition, nutritional medicine offers a performance nutrition 101 class every second Tuesday at 11 a.m. - noon and every second Thursday at 4 - 5 p.m. They also offer a Fit-4-Life Class that is every third Wednesday with various health classes from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

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