WASHINGTON — Building on the Obama administration’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, which is designed to stem childhood obesity on multiple fronts, First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to announce a program to improve nutrition standards at US military bases on Feb. 9. Pentagon officials and the First Lady are expected to announce the program during a visit to the US Air Force Base in Little Rock, Ark., where military personnel have been part of a test to incorporate more nutritious, lower fat cuisine into the meals served at the base.
According to a report from The Associated Press, this marks the first attempt in 20 years to improve the nutritional quality of the food served at US bases. Obesity is an epidemic not only among children, but also in the military, where more than $1.1 billion is spent by the government each year to address health issues related to obesity among enlisted soldiers, according to AP.
"The Department of Defense considers obesity not only a national problem, but a national security issue," said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. "About a quarter of entry-level candidates are too overweight to actually either enter the military or sustain themselves through the first enlistment."
As part of the Military Health System's awareness campaign, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lower-fat foods will be offered in base schools, at bases and in the 1,100 dining halls operated by the military.
"When our service members make healthy eating a priority in their lives, the rest of us are more likely to make it a priority in our lives," Obama said in a written statement.
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