WASHINGTON, Feb. 10- The Department of Defense announced the launch of the Military Health System’s (MHS) new obesity and nutrition awareness campaign. According to the DOD, this campaign will improve nutrition standards across the services for the first time in 20 years. More fruits, vegetables, whole grains and entrée choices that are lower in fat will be served in 1,100 service member dining facilities.
“The Department of Defense is making a groundbreaking commitment to the health of our troops and their families,” said First Lady Michelle Obama during her Lets Move! campaign tour. “And in doing so, they’re not just sending a powerful message throughout the military community; they’re sending a message to our entire country.”
The campaign includes each branch of the armed services and DOD partners in Military Community and Family Policy “to encourage service members, our retired beneficiaries and dependents make better nutritional choices and take a more active role in their personal health,” according to the announcement.
“Obesity is a preventable problem which, if combatted, can help prevent disease and ease the burden on our overall Military Health System,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson.
The Military Health System’s campaign will call on the services and the Pentagon’s office of military community and family policy to increase access to healthier foods in dining facilities, DOD schools and other places where troops, retirees and their families purchase food on bases, such as vending machines and snack bars.
Woodson said he considers obesity a national security issue, because “we have a history of poor nutritional choices, both in the civilian and military populations, that’s affecting readiness.”
According to the campaign, the Defense Department spends about $1.4 billion a year on health-related problems related to obesity, including diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis.
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