DoD Campaign Targets Obesity

A new campaign has begun to make military personnel, their families, and prospective recruits more aware of the health risks and the benefits of better nutrition.

The top health official for the U.S. military explains in a new video on the Pentagon Channel just how expensive obesity has become for the services. "It really is a national security issue" that 27 percent of Americans of enlistment age -– those 17 to 24 years old –- don't qualify for the military because they are overweight, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, M.D., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, says in the video.

Woodson says the Department of Defense is spending $60 million annually to recruit and partially train new personnel who then are discharged because of excess weight. DoD's annual spending to treat health problems related to obesity now amounts to $1.4 billion per year, he says.

The campaign encompasses troops and their families. It includes healthier foods on the menus of military facilities. Woodson says the goal is to reduce diabetes and prevent heart disease and other adverse health impacts associated with obesity.

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