Healthy Soldiers Program Under Way
First Lady greets Fort Jackson recruits with healthy message
When the most recent class of soldiers from Fort Jackson Army Base graduated from basic training recently, they heard about more than their future in the Army. They heard about their health.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to the North Carolina class of 1,100 solders and their families about the challenge of obesity in military recruiting. Of the approximate 129,000 recruits each year, about 51,600 are overweight, making it difficult for them to serve.
"It's not just a health issue for children, it's a national security issue," Mrs. Obama said.
The First Lady is expanding her "Let's Move!" initiative beyond the fight against childhood obesity. A new military program called "Fueling the Soldier" is now under way to help new recruits make healthier food choices.
The program replaces soda machines with juice machines and desserts with granola bars. Color-coded labels are being placed on dining hall food items to show nutritional value. The program's goal is to encourage recruits and soldiers to change bad habits into good.
"It's a generational thing and it's going to be hard to change a whole generation," Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the Army's initial training deputy commander, told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps at the graduation ceremony.
Mrs. Obama encouraged the Fort Jackson graduates to keep up with the fitness regimes they developed during basic training.
"Through the new ‘Fueling the Soldier' initiative here at Fort Jackson, you learned how to make better choices about what you eat," Mrs. Obama said. "I hope that these are lessons that you can take back to your own families, your own children, as you move forward."
What's it take to live a healthy lifestyle? It's not as hard as you think! Kid Reporters talk to celebrities, athletes, chefs, and First Lady Michelle Obama about how healthy living leads to happy living. Gets tips, recipes, and more in the Healthy Kids Special Report.
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