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National Nutrition Month

Monday March 11, 2013

What is it?

The Army joins the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to commemorate March as National Nutrition Month. The campaign’s focus is to educate people across the U.S., on how to make informed food choices to live a healthy and active life. The theme for this year, the 40th anniversary, is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day.”

According to the 2010 dietary guidelines for Americans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, combined with lean proteins (meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts) are foods to include as part of a healthy diet. One should also limit foods high in sugar, salt, refined grains, cholesterol and fat.

What has the Army done?

The Army Surgeon General’s Performance Triad (Activity, Nutrition and Sleep) empowers and encourages Soldiers and the Army family to make positive nutrition and lifestyle choices to achieve optimal performance and health.

Why is this important to the Army?

There is a nationwide obesity epidemic across the U.S. and the Army is not immune to this health issue. Obesity negatively affects Army recruitment, retention and healthcare costs. During the last 15 years, the number of overweight, obese Soldiers tripled and last year alone, the Army dismissed 1,625 Soldiers for exceeding the weight standards. Currently, more than 9 million young adults in the prime recruitment ages between 17 and 24, or one-in-four are too fat to fight and therefore ineligible to serve as members of our nation’s fighting force.

Good nutrition is more than just weight management and is essential for peak cognitive and physical performance, long-term health and disease prevention. Proper food choices and timing maximizes performance in the gym, during a combat mission, in the office, at home - everywhere in the “lifespace”. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart disease (the number one killer in the U.S.)

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The Army is committed to improving the health and resiliency of the Army family and are engaged in a number of initiatives to promote health. This spring, Army Medicine will implement the Performance Triad Pilot demonstration for active-duty Soldiers located at Fort Hood, Texas, Fort Bragg, N.C., and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. It is the first of several new Army programs designed to impact the “lifespace” of Soldiers and the Army family via activity, nutrition and sleep educational programs.


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