MHS, USDA Partner to Advance Healthy Lifestyles Among Military Families, School-Aged Children

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WASHINGTON – The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services will hold a press event Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Va., to highlight the nation’s progress on impacting healthier lifestyles among military members and school-aged children as part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Dr. Jonathan Woodson and Kevin W. Concannon will team up to highlight the impact healthy diets have on our military members, their families and the nation’s school-aged children. Representatives from Mission: Readiness will join about 10-20 students from Walt Whitman Middle School of Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax County, Va., at the event to demonstrate Military Health System and USDA efforts to promote healthy eating habits and healthier school meals.

“The military is working hard to improve the health of our troops and their families, but it cannot reverse the nation’s obesity epidemic on its own,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Cleckley, a spokesman for Mission: Readiness. “Good nutrition starts at home with parents, but schools also have a vital role to play since children consume up to half of their daily calories there.”

Ongoing initiatives like the National School Lunch Program and Department of Defense Go for Green Program are ensuring military members and students across America are better educated about the foods they are eating while providing meals with more fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Parents can send their kids to school knowing that the healthy habits they teach at home are being reinforced at school and within the military, with menus that provide more of the foods we should eat, and less of the foods that we should avoid.

Media Event at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital includes: 1 – 2 p.m.; event includes:

* Opening remarks – Navy Capt. Jennifer Vedral-Baron, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Director

* Remarks – BG (Ret) Julia J. Cleckley, spokesman for Mission: Readiness Military Leaders for Kids

* Remarks – Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

* Remarks – USEC Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services

* Remarks – Jean Bell, Walt Whitman Middle School Principal

* Recognition of Walt Whitman Middle School students

* Walk-Through Hospital Cafeteria and photo op

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