The Army looks after your soldier’s health and wellbeing – and there are various initiatives which you can support and join in with. Karen Ross, AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, spoke to Major Tracey Doree, SO2 Health Promotion, to find out what plans are in the pipeline…

EATING well is one way of keeping healthy, particularly with Christmas around the corner. Tracey’s Healthy Soldier Cook Book, available in PDF format from the Army website’s welfare pages [see right], is a good place to start.

“This would be great for Service families too as it includes lots of simple, cheap, multicultural recipes,” she said.

Have a look at the ‘healthy soldier toolbox’ on the Army pages and check out useful information sheets from the Defence Nutrition Advisory Service.

Tracey and her team will also be supporting  soldiers in giving up smoking. A Defence-sponsored campaign to encourage personnel to quit will run in January.

She added: “Evidence suggests that if your soldier signs up, they’ll be more successful if other family members quit too, so why not join in?”

More information can be found on the NHS website.

Family fitness

If you’re generally trying to get fitter, many garrisons have gyms, swimming pools and access to fitness sessions, not just for soldiers but for family members too. Ask at your local HIVE or welfare office whether facilities are available in your area – many of them are free.

If high impact exercise is not your cup of tea, check out your local community noticeboard. Whether you’re on a military patch or in your own home, see if there are any walking or exercise groups you can join – or maybe start one up.

Health fairs

Army units hold annual fairs to promote health  and wellbeing policies – and some events are  open to families.

There’s lots of information on hand and advice on practical activities and local health resources.

Festive fare

At this time of year, we often eat, drink and be merry, but if you want to keep an eye on your alcohol consumption,  there are some useful apps to help, such as Drinkaware and Public Health England’s One You drinks tracker.

If you feel that you’ve overindulged, don’t forget that ‘dry January’ is just around the corner!

If you have any health and wellbeing questions, contact me by email at

Your healthy year

January: Dry January

11-17 January: National Obesity Week

February: World Cancer Day

8 March: National No Smoking Day

7 April: World Health Day

May: National Walking Month

8-14 May: Mental Health Awareness Week

October: Stoptober

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