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More than 300 soldiers and family members run during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018.

More than 300 soldiers and family members run during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

More than 300 soldiers and family members run during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018.

More than 300 soldiers and family members run during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Soldiers and family members walking during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018.

Soldiers and family members walking during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Soldiers with different units' flags running during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018.

Soldiers with different units' flags running during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Staff Sgt. Dewayne Hawk wears a Bavarian Health Initiative shirt at the BHI 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018.

Staff Sgt. Dewayne Hawk wears a Bavarian Health Initiative shirt at the BHI 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Bavarian Health Initiative decorations at the post gym, during the BHI 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018.

Bavarian Health Initiative decorations at the post gym, during the BHI 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Fruits and vegetables on display during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018.

Fruits and vegetables on display during the Bavarian Health Initiative 5K at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, March 23, 2018. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The Army ran a health assessment test for soldiers and family members on base earlier this year and discovered several negative trends among the community, including childhood obesity, high alcohol use and poor mental health.

In an effort to combat these trends, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria on Friday launched the Bavarian Health Initiative to reward soldiers and families who take their health into their own hands.

“When I saw the evidence that unhealthy trends are becoming more prevalent, I wanted to do something about it,” said base commander Col. Lance Varney. “The (Bavarian Health Initiative) is a way to give more momentum to the programs we already have available and get people a little more excited about making healthier decisions.”

Community members sign up for the program with a stated goal, like losing weight, and can earn prizes for achieving those goals.

“I’m 100% on board with the program,” said Staff Sgt. Dewayne Hawk, who works in preventive medicine at Medical Department Activity Bavaria and signed up for the program. “I think this is a great way to get people outside, and moving, and generally making better decisions.”

The initiative kicked off with a run Friday afternoon and will continue for several months. During that period, certain healthy foods will be marked at the post commissary and mental health programs will be showcased around the base.

egnash.martin@stripes.com Twitter: @Marty_Stripes


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