By Yan Kennon
Public Affairs Senior Writer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville
It's a new year; use this opportunity to start fresh for a new you.  Whether it's healthy eating, exercise, better sleep or quitting smoking, one small change can have a positive effect.  Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville has tools to help you. 
"Give yourself the gift of health in 2018," said Cmdr. Jennifer Wallinger, NH Jacksonville director for public health.
"Get your health screenings and take advantage of our wellness resources."     
Lifestyle changes don't have to be drastic to be effective. Small changes (over a period of time) can have a big impact. 
Here are some tips for a healthier you in 2018:
⢠Focus on real food. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, and dairy products.  The fewer the ingredients the better.  Eating whole foods mean you will be consuming less trans fats, added sugar and sodium.
⢠Move more.  Making time in your day to be active improves mood and decreases stress.   Try simple things such as taking the stairs and walking outdoors.  
⢠Get enough sleep.  It's a necessity, not a luxury.  Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression).  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night; teens need nine to 10 hours; and school-aged children need at least 10 hours.
⢠Be smoke- and tobacco-free.
Take measures to avoid preventable diseases:
Prevent cervical cancer with the right test at the right time.  Women should get their first Pap test at age 21, and every three years after that.  Starting at age 30, women have a choice:  get a Pap test every three years or get a combined Pap and human papillomavirus (HPV) test every five years.  See your PCM.
Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it's easier to treat and before it's big enough to feel.  The American College of Radiology recommends mammograms every year starting at age 40.  Call Radiology today at 904-542-7782.  
If you're age 50 or over, get screened now for colorectal cancer.  It's the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., among cancers affecting both men and women.  Screening can find growths so they can be removed before turning into cancer.  If you have risk factors, you might need to be tested earlier or more often.  Talk to your PCM.
Bring your child in for a check-up in the first month of life, and at 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 months of age; and at ages 2, 2½, 3, 4, and 5 years.  Check-ups track growth and development, prevent illness with immunizations, and answer your questions.  Talk to your child's PCM about check-ups during school-age years.
If you have diabetes, see your health care team as directed and get your A1C at least every year.  This helps you and your provider better manage your health care.
Make an appointment with your PCM.  You can discuss strategies to manage diabetes at home, work, school, and while traveling.  You can also talk with a diabetes nurse or our nutrition clinic, and ask about our Diabetes Wellness Team.
Medical Home Port teams (at the hospital or branch health clinic) are standing by to meet your preventive, routine, and urgent health care needs. 
The hospital's Wellness Center (located next to Naval Air Station Jacksonville's Fitness Center) offers a variety of tools and classes (individual and group) that can help improve the health of active duty, retirees, and family members. 
For starters, make an appointment for a body composition assessment. Wellness uses whole body densitometry, a precise method for determining body fat percentage. Staff provides test results and recommended diet and fitness approaches.
For those looking to eat healthier, Wellness offers "Choose My Plate," a basic nutrition and healthy meal planning course.  It offers ideas and tips for healthier eating.
For weight management, "ShipShape" is offered for families, retirees, and active duty.  The program consists of two online classes and six individual sessions at the Wellness Center, and promotes healthy lifestyles, weight loss, and nutrition.  Participants practice techniques for healthy eating, goal setting, dealing with emotional and social situations, problem-solving, and long-term behavior change.
For tobacco users, the Wellness Center offers one-on-one tobacco cessation support (including medication, patch and gum), to help get quit and stay quit.
To get started, call or stop by NH Jacksonville's Wellness Center at (904) 542-5292 or talk to your PCM.
To make a PCM appointment, call 904-542-4677 (hospital), 904-546-7094 (BHC Jacksonville for active duty), or go to TRICARE's Online Patient Portal at  
For immunizations, stop by or call 904-542-7810 (hospital) or 904-546-7050 (BHC Jacksonville).
Make 2018 the start of a healthier and happier lifestyle.  NH Jacksonville is standing by to help.