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DoD DeCA 's Profile

Department of Defense, Defense Commissary Agency



United States

About Me:

Karen Hawkins, DOD BloggerLTC Hawkins is a registered and licensed dietitian with more than 18 years of military service: ten as an Army Reserve dietitian and eight on active duty, including experience as a certified diabetes educator in Army medical facilities and public health clinics. LTC Hawkins developed, coordinated and evaluated health and nutrition programs in Virginia, and served as the state's “5 A Day for Better Health” program coordinator.

LTC Hawkins earned a bachelor's degree in dietetics from Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga., and a master's degree in education and human development from George Washington University, Washington, D.C. She interned at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Continuing her studies, LTC Hawkins is currently enrolled in an online doctoral program in health education through A.T. Still University, Kirksville, Mo.

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Recent Posts by DoD DeCA

Engaging The Military Community in Fitness

by DoD DeCA February 23, 2011

Navy PT and the San Diego Commissary

In the military community the Defense Commissary Agency is actively engaged in promoting fitness on the military installation. Physical fitness of Sailors is a critical part of operational readiness and meeting deployment schedules.  In support of this effort, sailors stationed at the San Diego Naval Base in California participated in a groundbreaking fitness event in front of the commissary that was supported by the base Commanding Officer Capt. Rick Williamson. Morale, Welfare and Recreation representatives teamed up with San Diego Commissary employees and provided fitness events for the entire week to include a stage, rock climbing wall and professional trainers. Approximately 250 sailors were on hand to do physical training exercises Feb. 14. Later in the week, the commissary held a 1.5K run, and MWR provided 100 exercise bikes for them to work out on. All in all, a variety of challenging physical activities was included in the busy week.

Many of the sailors enjoyed the variety of physical activity events coordinated during the week. This program succeeded because base leadership, MWR and the commissary planned and worked together at the military installation level to make it happen. Moving forward, the commissaries will continue to work with military community leaders to create events that support the focus on fitness for both service members and families on installations.

To engage the military community in the fitness program:

  1. Get buy-in from the top down.
  2. To create successful events good coordination is very important.
  3. To add variety and enhance the fun include different activities such as rock wall climbing and cycling.
  4. Share the success of accomplishment through media promotion.

For relevant information look at the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS) at:

The NOFFS provides the Navy with a performance training resource for sailors and health and fitness professionals.

What are some things you are doing to actively engage your community in fitness?


Children are on the Move in DeCA

by DoD DeCA November 30, 2010

Children cheeringChildhood obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions, with the number of overweight children doubling over the past two decades. The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is championing the fight against childhood obesity with supporting the “Let’s Move!” campaign through promoting physical activity for children and healthy food choices.  We have taken the quest to market and educate DeCA’s military audience to commissaries, publications and even to social networking sites, holding healthy food and physical activity demonstrations, writing about the positive effects making healthy choices can bring, and “tweeting” with commissary patrons about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Two of DeCA’s most recent health and wellness events took place at military installations in Virginia. 5-year-olds from the installation child development center learned how to make fresh fruit shish kabobs and vegetable cornucopias using whole-grain tortillas, while commissary employees teamed up with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center to treat the children to a morning of fun-filled exercises. These events encourage children at an early age so they know how to make healthy choices throughout their lives. By working with the children, the community and the families to learn to make healthy choices, they’re more likely to continue these good habits as they get older. Eating healthy and exercising are both important aspects in winning the battle against childhood obesity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The fight against childhood obesity involves the community supporting the families and providing educations as well as interventions that help support the things they do at home. At the same time, we are able to teach adults to be healthier through these interactive events.

What are some things you are doing to help encourage children to be active in your community?




Creative programming | Events

DeCA is On the Move during the DoD-wide Fitness Challenge

by DoD DeCA August 11, 2010

People on the street exercising.While walking through DeCA headquarters, one may notice a lot of activity in the building. You might see a group of women in summer dresses and workout shoes walking, a man with a gym bag and wet hair coming out of the locker room, and several people walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator. And, when shopping at the local commissary, you are likely to hear about several employees walking on their lunch break, going bowling after work or taking an exercise class together.

We are on the move at DeCA – one step at a time – as being active and making healthy choices are not only good for us but are also fun. Last year DeCA employees participated in the President’s Challenge with more than 4,800 completing the challenge. This year the Department of Defense is sponsoring a DoD-wide “Leap into Fall” Fitness Challenge that runs from August through October for all DoD civilians, contractors and their families. Team DeCA is participating in the challenge.

There is an overall DoD goal of 1,500,000 hours of physical activity during that 10-week period. To help make it even more interesting, DoD components will compete against each other for a fitness award. Participating individuals that have achieved at least 25 hours of physical activity over a 10-week period or groups whose members on average have 25 hours of physical activity during those 10 weeks will receive a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the DoD Fall Fitness Challenge. The results of the top three most active groups and individuals that contribute toward achieving the overall DoD goal will be announced on the DoD Worklife/Wellness website.

We encourage you to join the challenge at Ask your family, friends and co-workers to join, too. Qualifying fitness activities include just about any type of movement – including walking, running, golfing, gardening and even doing household tasks. Join the challenge with us and enjoy moving along to better health today in the commissary.

Secrets to success include:

  1. It really helps to get buy-in from the top down.
  2. Create a competition between sections in your organization. Most people enjoy being part of a team and competing to achieve a goal.
  3. Throughout the challenge and at the end, share examples of events and activities that both teams and individuals can do to make it enjoyable and real for people.
  4. Share the success of accomplishment through incentives and media promotion.

How are you creatively promoting physical activity in your organization?



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