Last Updated:October 22 @ 05:14 pm

Military falls in line with Michelle O's diet plan

By Nancy Benac

WASHINGTON (AP) - Hold the mystery meat: Military bases will soon be serving more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dishes under the first program in 20 years to improve nutrition standards across the armed services.

First lady Michelle Obama and Pentagon officials planned to announce the effort Thursday during a visit to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, where the military has been experimenting with the idea through a pilot program designed to improve the quality and variety of foods served on base.

It's not just about giving members of the armed services a more svelte profile.

"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."

The Pentagon spends an estimated $4.5 billion a year on food services, and $1.1 billion a year on medical care related to excess weight and obesity.

Under the Military Health System's new obesity and nutrition awareness campaign, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lower-fat entrees will be coming to the 1,100 service member dining halls in coming months. Healthier choices will be turning up in base schools, vending machines and snack bars, too.

Mrs. Obama, who has been leading a campaign against childhood obesity, said the military effort would send a message to the whole nation.

"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," she said in a written statement. "Simply put, this is America's entire military once again stepping forward to lead by example."

The first lady was visiting Little Rock as part of a three-day national tour marking the second anniversary of her "Let's Move" campaign.

Under the new program, each of the armed services will be asked to update menu standards for the first time in two decades and to ensure that healthier food choices are available.

"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 in a statement.

He said surveys in the mid-1990s found that about 1 out of 50 members of the armed services had weight problems. By about 2005, the figure was 1 in 20 service members.

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5 Comments

  1. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    February 9, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    Mama Obama knows best I guess, I can’t wait for her to show up at my house and plan our meals for us! Of course since my wife feeds us a healthy, balanced diet (our choice), the sparks will fly if she tries to take over Mama’s kitchen at this house. Since her hubby is the Commander in Chief, I guess the brass has no choice but to dance to Mama O’s tune! Or at least eat their veggies.

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  2. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    February 9, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

    With the many military facilities within close proximity to the White House, hopefully the White House kitchen can be closed down, and the military messes can provide catering services for the ‘first’ family. No sneaking out please.

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  3. capricorn1Comment by capricorn1
    February 9, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

    seig heil,seig heil michelle is a food nazi.

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  4. wdjincComment by wdjinc
    February 9, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

    With the new open gay policy and MO’s diet plan the newly diversified marines can now enjoy hummus and tofu at their evening meals…and by the way our Commander & Chief just cut the defense budget by billions of dollars. I wonder how this compares with our troops fighting at Normandy and at the Battle of the Bulge who got by on canned spam. Pass the hummus please! 

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  5. krispykritterComment by krispykritter
    February 9, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

    Wonder if the Military will be drinking the expensive Vodka the WOTUS  drinks .Or eating her favorite food, French fries..in her own words.
     The WOTUS is a joke .

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