Health & Safety

February 7, 2014

DOD focuses on healthy, active lifestyle for children

Courtesy photo

WASHINGTON — With the national rate of childhood obesity increasing, the Defense Department wants to ensure children in military families lead healthy and active lifestyles, the Defense Department’s director of the office of family policy and children and youth said.

In a recent interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Barbara Thompson said that nationally, 12.5 million children and adolescents from age 2 to 19 are overweight, a figure that’s tripled since 1980. Military children are a microcosm of that group, she noted.

Today’s generation of children is the first one at risk of dying before their parents, Thompson said. Facing such risks, families should set goals for healthy food choices and more physical activities for their children.

“It’s important for children to see the most important models in their lives doing the same things they should do,” she said. “It’s of critical importance that children start healthy habits at a very early age. The bottom line is (that) obesity is preventable.”

DOD’s message for young children and adolescents is called 5-2-1, Thompson said. It calls for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, two hours or less of “screen time,” one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise and zero sweetened drinks, which is a plan that can be used at home and in school. She defined screen time as any activity involving television, computers, video games, movies and other devices that lead to a sedentary lifestyle.

Obesity also can lead to serious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure, Thompson said. Children without healthy diets and routine exercise start at early ages to build plaque in their arteries, and are at risk for future health issues, she added.

And national security can become an issue when people cannot enter military service because of their weight and health-related diseases, Thompson said.

Resources for setting dietary and exercise goals are abundant for military families, Thompson said. One way to begin children on a path to healthy eating and routine exercise is to have meals as families, she said. Cutting sugar and salt, reducing overall fat and cooking in a healthy manner, such as steaming certain foods rather than fat-frying them, also are necessary to a better lifestyle, she noted.

After dinner, families can take walks together and make plans for weekend bike rides and other physical activities, Thompson suggested.

Health and nutrition help is available from numerous resources, she said, noting that first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative includes a website that provides a variety of healthy recipes and ways to add activity into children’s’ everyday lives.

While school districts have begun to offer healthy food choices, parents should become involved with the Parent-Teacher Association and similar groups if their children’s schools do not deliver healthy food choices or provide inadequate exercise time and activities, she said.

The Military OneSource website offers a health and wellness coach program that’s good for goal setting for cardiovascular health and nutrition habits, Thompson said.

Child and youth development centers and morale, welfare, and recreation programs on military installations offer emphasis on eating healthy foods and pursuing active lifestyles, she said. Help also is available to advise families on how to shop for groceries and prepare meals in a healthy manner, she said.

“The earlier children ingrain specific (habits), the more they will stay with them – whether it’s brushing their teeth before bed, washing their hands, or (remembering) to drink water and eat fruits and vegetables,” Thompson said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

TRICARE pharmacy rules changing for maintenance, brand-name drugs

WASHINGTON — TRICARE beneficiaries who take certain brand-name medications on a regular basis will be required to fill prescriptions at a military treatment facility or through a mail-in program beginning Oct. 1, a Defense Health Agency official said here Aug. 20. George Jones, DHA’s pharmacy operations division chief, said the new policy does not apply...
 
 

99th MSGS clinic supports women’s health

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Mothers spend nine months caring for and protecting their unborn child, but that unconditional love doesn’t end there—they’ll spend the rest of their lives caring for and loving them. To ensure their babies are healthy and well taken care of, women may often visit a clinic that provides prenatal...
 
 
doctor

Ask the Doc

Q: I’m a member of the US military. Are my parents and parents-in-law eligible for TRICARE? A: No, but if your parents and parents-in-law meet your service’s criteria to become your dependents and you’re on active duty fo...
 

 
doctor

Ask the Doc

Q: Where can I get a breast pump? And where can I get breast pump supplies? A: You can get a breast pump and/or pump supplies from any: • Network or durable medical equipment provider (contact your TRICARE contractor) • Com...
 
 

NDI: Seeing things unseen by human eyes

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Pilots often fly through the air at speeds well over 1,000 miles per hour, causing them to look like gray blurs slicing through the sky. At Nellis AFB, they often fly over vast miles of empty desert during routine training missions. In the blink of an eye, something could...
 
 

MOFMC offers services for breastfeeding moms

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Often times, active duty moms can find themselves struggling to provide nourishment for their child due to time constraints, lack of support, stress, or just the constant tug and pull of military life. With the month of August designated as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>