March 25—The prevalence of obesity within the military is currently 13 percent, according to report published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
This rising epidemic could result in military career setbacks, negatively impact operational readiness, and jeopardize Department of Defense operations. To combat the rise in obesity, a team of researchers chose the military cafeteria as the venue to observe and evaluate eating behavior and the positive impact of modest changes to promote healthy eating and food selection.
The study team from the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center staged an intervention within five dining facilities on Fort Bragg, NC, that included increasing fresh fruit, vegetables, whole-grain foods and lean protiens. Over time, investigators observed that minimal changes in food service practices and menus in DFACs produced significant improvement in soldiers' nutritional intake, including decreases in fat.