Study underway at Pennington hopes to keep soldiers, veterans healthy

Study underway at Pennington hopes to keep soldiers, veterans healthy
Published: May. 31, 2016 at 6:47 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Pennington Biomedical Research Center has a study currently underway right now to keep US soldiers and veterans healthy and strong.

The Army Health Intensive is an extension of an existing Army H.E.A.L.T.H., which stands for Healthy Eating Activity Lifestyle Training Headquarters.

First Lieutenant Michael Switzer has made exercise a part of his daily routine. Now with the help of the new program, tracking his health and wellness is getting even easier using tech.

Through an app, and other tools like a Fitbit and specialized scale, Switzer and others in the study can get immediate, personalized guidance on their fitness goals.

"You start your day off by weighing yourself in the morning and the activity tracker stays on all day and it also tracks your sleep the night prior," said Switzer, who is also serves as project manager for the Army Health Intensive Program. "It's a nutrition tracker so you log in all your meals, you can log in customized meals or you can use our meal plans which are already loaded up. It's also exercise plans that are given to the soldiers or they can customize their own workouts as well."

However, contrary to other commercial health and wellness trackers, the Army Health Intensive is carefully catered to the standards soldiers need to meet during and after their service.

"This will allow us to give more individualized coaching, as behavioral changes are made and as we seek changes in the endpoints, to approach the person on a very individual path," said Tiffany Stewart with Pennington.

The Army Health Intensive also focuses on family, incorporating resources for the families of soldiers that an be used to maintain their health as well. It also helps when transitioning back to normal life.

"[The program] gives those soldiers the ability to improve mindfulness techniques, help with the resilience, also a sleep aide a tool for soldiers to learn how to get better sleep. So it's good for the resilience and transition back from wartime to peacetime," Switzer said.

Pennington is still looking for more soldiers and veterans to take part in the study.

For more information on the program, e-mail

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