By Kirk Fechter, Garrison Safety Officer

(This is the second in a series about HP)

Safety on the Fly Health Promotion (Part 2)

(NOTE: If I eliminated all the noise of everything here at Fort Meade in the last 14 years, it would be that reading, studying and adopting AR 600-63 Army Health Promotion (HP) has revolutionized my performance as a Safety Professional, and I would recommend similar study to everyone. A Great web site to visit is the Army Public Health Center's (HP) and Wellness. )


When doing a total health assessment, there are other factors I examine beyond Substance Abuse, Suicide Prevention, and Stress Management discussed in Part 1. So, let’s continue to look at how other factors can be important to a proper health assessment in developing the right individually-focused health program.


Weight Control - Controlling weight is a good analogy for monitoring a lot of things. I would change the title of the program since Weight Monitoring is quick and effective, but measuring lean muscle mass is precise.  We get weight data simply by stepping on the scale.  So we get a number - One analysis of the weight is BMI which is weight and height. Recently COVID-19 risk was defined as BMI 40 +. BMI is simple.


I read that world class runners average 2 pounds for each inch of height. In college, I was 72.5 inches and weighed 147, pretty close. Safety programs measure number of accidents. But just as weight tells a story, we need more information.


Lean muscle mass and body fat is the real measure of fitness, and was and is not always understood.

I knew a world class wrestler who was "fat" with 5% body fat (He was big because he had a lot of muscle, he was on my flag football teams and I was happy he used his muscle against the opponents!) The fat assessment was based on BMI.


Weight fluctuates. (Just as accident rates) Weights of 150 and 155 are equivalent if the 5 pounds was water weight.  Drink 15.34 fluid ounces of water, you will gain a harmless pound. Five pounds of grease is a harmful 5 pounds. When I do a deep dive, I look at my weight as a quick daily reference recognizing the fluctuations, but my focus is on percentage of body fat. I get an estimate of body fat by measuring my waist and neck and looking at a chart. I am very pleased the “Bod Pod” is available at Fort Meade. It measures body fat scientifically, with accuracy and is easier that hydrostatic testing in a pool. In summary, I got on the scale and had a high BMI, a risk for COVID-19. So I wanted to lose weight which I did (50 pounds since March!). Even if I had not measured my waist, I would have noticed that I can now wear pants that were too tight before. I go to the Bod Pod soon.


Nutrition - Nutrition involves all liquid, food, and supplemental intake into the body. I will focus briefly on what is applicable to me. Intake should be guided by the body’s lean muscle mass and the type and amount of activity. My past experience as a distance runner with nutrition is instructive. My body fat was near 5% which is the lowest recommended body fat (Bruce Lee had a reported 3% body fat). I was running around 100 miles a week. I was training at a high speed and effort. I regularly ran races between 5K and Marathons. So my key source of energy was glycogen that the body manufactures for energy. I experienced depletion of these stores especially running a Marathon. When people talk about “hitting the wall,” most likely it is the depletion of glycogen and the transition to relying on free floating fatty acids for energy.


My daily calories were best composed of 55 to 60 percent carbohydrates, 20 to 35 percent fat and 10 to 25 percent protein (Assessment information can be found at


Many marathoners do a “Carbo Load.” – I did a large spaghetti dinner prior to running the Marine Corps Marathon in 1979.


In the present, I have too much body fat.  I have been running at least 3.5 miles every day, so I am active. But, I have shifted to a “Keto” diet. There are several keto-based body composition programs a person can consider (This is just me – there are many others! Additional information can be found at


             Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs (1Trusted Source).


             Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.


             Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.


             High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.


(End of Part 2)