Kitanakagusuku mayor visits Gunners Fitness Center to promote healthy living
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Kunio Arakaki, the mayor of Kitanakagusuku Village, and local government officials visited Gunners Fitness Center March 31 on Camp Foster to tour the facility and learn about the numerous health programs offered on the installation.
The visit presented information to Kitanakagusuku Village officials that can be used when developing their own health programs and fitness centers, which encourage healthier lifestyles throughout the community, according to Arakaki.
“The village has been successful with its past health programs,” said Arakaki. “However, the programs were limited to people who had pre-existing medical issues. I want to expand (the programs) to healthy people.”
During the visit, the fitness center staff briefed information about unhealthy lifestyle choices including tobacco use, poor nutrition and physical inactivity. The presentation also provided examples of fitness and nutritional plans people can follow to achieve healthier lifestyles.
“This is a good step forward for the town,” said Terumi Nagai-Luebbers, a fitness coordinator with Marine Corps Community Services. “The government wants (community members) to participate in more fitness activities, and this (event) is helping that. We engaged concerns the mayor had and gave him ideas for promoting health.”
During the visit, fitness center staff displayed a variety of pamphlets and demonstrated how the Semper Fit website reaches the community, according to Bert Griffith, the chief of Semper Fit, MCCS. Access to different types of media is important for overall health awareness.
“Health promotions need marketing,” said Griffith. “To reach out to people, you have to find different ways to get their attention. Different age groups will have different ways of gathering information, whether it’s newspaper, internet or other ways.”
While many Okinawa residents are known for their longevity, making healthier decisions will help improve quality of life, according to Arakaki.
“Life expectancy has always been high in our town,” said Arakaki. “But that distinction will not last forever. I link the theme of health during (town meetings) and functions because everything you do in life is dependent on being healthy.”
Having a positive mental state of mind is also important for healthy living, according to Arakaki.
“Healthcare traditionally focuses on the body,” said Arakaki. “But we want to take a more holistic approach to providing healthcare. Everyone should live a healthy and happy life.”
The tour of the Gunners Fitness Center encouraged Arakaki and the center’s staff to consider future collaborative endeavors, according to Griffith.
“We showed how we promote health,” said Griffith. “He was thankful for the presentation of the gym. This visit set the stage for future initiatives in health programs.”