Army goes online to manage personnel weight loss program

The service will use Adobe software and the Web to apply a consistent weight-loss regimen for service members.

The Army will move to a new online weight-loss training program for active duty and reserve personnel.The Army MOVE program will replace its current Weigh-to-Stay weight management course, said Lt. Col. Danny Jaghab, nutrition staff officer at the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.The new program will adapt material from a similar program run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The two initiatives will use a common set of clinical practice guidelines and will provide continuity for those who transition from military to veteran status.Army MOVE will use Adobe Acrobat Connect, a software package that can be used for web conferencing, desktop sharing and the creation of presentations and online training materials.“The purpose,” said Jaghab, “is to provide Army personnel with access to the same weight management counseling that we provide face-to-face. All of our instructors, on-line and in-person, are registered dieticians.”Users of Army MOVE will access the program with their Common Access Card through Army Knowledge Online. Sessions will be offered throughout the day, including evening hours.Adobe Acrobat Connect creates an on-screen presentation that includes 12 pods, Jaghab said. “The instructor can be sharing a PowerPoint presentation, training tools, and video and can also have the camera focused on the instructor,” he said. Users may participate in MOVE sessions by text messaging or through Voice over IP communications.Weigh to Stay was limited to the display of PowerPoint slides.The MOVE program will comprise 13 one-hour sessions, beginning with a self-assessment which tailors a program to the individual.Jaghab recommends taking no more than one session per week. “We want the participants to incorporate what they learn all week long,” he said.Each session will be able to accommodate several hundred participants. Twenty to 25 participants were typical for Weight to Stay sessions. A total of 8,500 people participated in that program.Two-thirds of Weigh to Stay participants completed that program, according to Jaghab. Of those, 97 percent were satisfied with the program’s methodology. The average participant lost six pounds within the first 20 days.