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Pentagon Steps up Fitness Efforts

fitnessThe Department of Defense has launched a fitness challenge for its civilian workers with the goal to record 1.5 million hours of physical activity by Oct. 31.

DoD’s Civilian Personnel Policy Office is sponsoring the “Leap Into Fall” campaign, which began Aug. 16, Kathleen Ott, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for the office, said during a recent interview.

“We consider this part of readiness,” she said. “We want our employees to be fit and be productive. If we pay attention to our employees and their needs, it makes us a better employer, better able to recruit and retain employees, and retain our reputation as a model employer.”

The office started the “Leap Into Fall” challenge to urge people to get moving, Ott said. The challenge supports first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign for children, and the goal is for employees to record 1.5 million hours of physical activity over the 10-week period, she said.

Employees can compete either as individuals or part of a team. Physical activity does not have to be strenuous; it can include walking, biking, gardening, or golfing – “anything that gets you up and moving,” Ott said.

Employees can use The President’s Challenge Website to record their hours of physical activity. The top three individuals and top three teams will be recognized on the civilian personnel management office’s website, Ott said. More than 5,000 employees have logged onto the site so far, some from as far away as Afghanistan, she said.

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