The Defense Logistic Agency at Fort Belvoir kicked off its year-long Healthy Base Initiative, a demonstration project designed to improve the health of federal employees and soldiers working at Government installations.
“This initiative is probably one of the most powerful initiatives I believe the military has ever put in place,” said television host Montel Williams, who has multople sclerosis and spoke at the campaign kick-off on Wed., May 15. “This morning, at 5 a.m., I was in the gym. Don’t tell me you have no time. This is how you can change your life. My choice is, if I don’t, I can’t walk.”
DLA has 27,000 employes, and the initiative includes a bike share program and a weekly farmer’s market.
“What we really hope to get out of all of this at the end of this demonstration is to figure out what levers that we pulled and pushed really moves the needle, what things work, not only to look at an overarching program for the DoD, but in my opinion, it’s how we can help this nation,” said DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek.
The 13 sites are:
- Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.
- Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Va..
- Fort Bragg, N.C.
- Fort Sill, Okla.
- Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
- Sub Base New London, Conn.
- Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho
- Yokota Air Base, Japan
- Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center/Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
- Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va
- U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.
- March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
The Defense Department spends $1.6 billion on obesity-related health care and $1.6 billion in tobacco-related care, according to Charles E. Milam, acting-Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. .
“If I could show you a color-coded map, back in 1990, the U.S. was blue, meaning we did not have an overweight and obesity problem. In 2010, 40 percent … of our nation is obese,” said Milan.
“Today, we recruit from a pool of about 27 percent of young men and women who join the military. If I look at the predictive model, and if that holds true and obesity continues to rise in the U.S., it will have an impact on recruiting. We already know it has an impact on retention. We already know it impacts readiness.”