Nutrition is the final facet that ties the three components of the Ready and Resilient Campaign’s Performance Triad together. According to a 2012 National Examination Survey an average of 39 million adults and 6 million children are obese.
A 2011 Department of Defense survey revealed that 17 percent of Army Soldiers are obese. According to the same study, nearly 40 percent of military members who are currently serving had to lose at least 20 pounds to enlist. The Army is taking proactive steps to ensure that their Soldiers and family members have the right tools and food education necessary to live a healthy lifestyle.
“Just drinking water can be a significant factor in weight loss,” said former McAfee Chief Nurse Maj. Michael Wissemann.
The Army has developed an Army Move! Weight management program which provides vital information to help you eat more nutritious foods and combat overeating. The program also provides a questionnaire that helps develop an individualized program. The Army has shifted their way of thinking by moving away from a healthcare system to a system of health which focuses on preventative care.
“Each healthcare encounter is an average of 20 minutes, approximately 5 times per year. Therefore, the average annual amount of time with each patient is 100 minutes; this represents a very small fraction of one’s life. We want to partner with our patients regarding the other 525,500 minutes of the year where they live their lives,” said Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, in an Army.mil article.
Wissemann said overweight issues have recently largely been based on what we drink. Wissemann said energy drinks are “full of bad things,” and have been more commonly used as sports drinks even though they actually dehydrate the body. The problem with drinks like sodas and energy drinks, Wissemann said, is that they are full of unnatural sweeteners that the human body was not designed to process and cannot process. Wissemann spoke about how he was able to cut his daily soda intake by supplementing with water and two gummy bears to fulfill his sugar craving. In cutting his soda intake and increasing his physical activity Wissemann said he noticed a difference in energy and weight.
“We should be avoiding excessively sugary drinks. As a society we’ve moved away from drinking water,” Wissemann said.
Wissemann recommends individuals drink 64 ounces of water a day. When it comes to food, Army Medicine recommends four key tips whenever choosing what to eat: control your portions, make the healthiest decision, prepare meals ahead of time, and snack smart. Army Medicine also recommends using your plate as a guide, fill half your plate with fruits and veggies and vary your protein with fish, beans, peas, soy nuts and seeds. When choosing food with grains always opt for the whole-grain option and choose fat free or low fat dairy options.
“A key to eating healthy is to eat slowly and allow your body to realize that it is full,” Wissemann said.
The website also recommends eating together as a family to help promote healthy eating and build relationships. According to the website, families that eat together are better nourished and healthier.
For more information on healthier food options, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/mih/pdf/approach3.pdf