SAN DIEGO -- Members of Amphibious Group (CPG) 3 took time out of their busy schedules recently to participate in a health awareness program designed to help sailors maintain healthier lifestyles.

CPG 3’s medical department brought in several health professionals to promote self-health awareness, informing sailors about daily calorie intake, healthy food choices, keeping cholesterol and blood pressure under control, and other preventive care issues.

“We want to get people medically ready and screen them before problems occur,” said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Brenda Quarles, the health awareness program’s coordinator.

CPG 3’s initiative is part of a decision by the Navy in 2005 to replace the five-year physical exam. Now, service members will be screened yearly, increasing the likelihood of diagnosing and treating health problems early to maintain a stronger Naval force. Overall, this leads to increased readiness and greater worldwide deploy-ability.

“The new program was implemented Feb. 16 and must be completed Navywide by August,” said CPG 3’s deputy surgeon Lt. Cmdr. Michael A. Nace. "Once the initial phases of the program have been completed, sailors will return to medical each year during their birth month recall to have another health assessment. This was definitely the perfect opportunity for CPG 3’s medical department to incorporate both the health awareness program and the preventive health assessment.”

CPG 3’s medical staff plans to go beyond the basic requirement and hold the health awareness program bi-annually before physical fitness assessments (PFA).

Nace added that he has seen the positive effects of similar programs in getting sailors proactively involved in their health care and maintaining a culture of fitness. Quarles emphasized that this proactive approach is critical for every sailor. She specifically recommended that every sailor take charge of his or her health by getting “cholesterol screened, blood pressure checked, exercising regularly and eating healthy.”