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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 093-12
February 09, 2012

DOD to Improve Nutrition Standards Across the Armed Services for the First Time in 20 Years

Part of military’s new obesity and nutrition awareness campaign

            Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and TRICARE® Management Activity director Dr. Jonathan Woodson announced today the Military Health System’s (MHS) new obesity and nutrition awareness campaign.  It will feature cooperative efforts with each of the armed services, as well as our 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. This campaign will include improving nutrition standards across the services for the first time in 20 years.  New changes will bring more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and entrée choices that are lower in fat to the 1,100 service member dining facilities in the coming months.

             “Our primary focus is on the health and well-being of service members, their families, and our retirees,” Woodson said. “Obesity is a preventable problem which, if combatted, can help prevent disease and ease the burden on our overall Military Health System.”

             “The Department of Defense is making a groundbreaking commitment to the health of our troops and their families.  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,” First Lady Michelle Obama said.   “Whenever our men and women in uniform step forward, Americans take notice.  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.  Simply put, this is America’s entire military once again stepping forward to lead by example.”

            The MHS obesity and nutrition awareness campaign will feature cooperative efforts with each of the armed services to achieve the following:

  • Update menu standards at military dining facilities for the first time in 20 years;
  • Assess the nutritional environment of military facilities;
  • Ensure healthier foods are available in dining facilities; Department of Defense schools, and other places where service members and their families purchase food on base, including vending machines and snack bars.

            “We are intent on focusing on preventable illnesses to help our people stay out of our clinics and hospitals by improving their physical condition,” Woodson said.  “We have the legal and moral responsibility to do our part to maintain the health and well-being of everyone in our military community.  And, we are committed to a strategy that changes the direction of healthcare to health in the military community, and, in many ways, for all Americans.”