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ASP in the News: Coverage of ASP’s Call-to-Action on Military Obesity

ASP in the News: Coverage of ASP’s Call-to-Action on Military Obesity

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On April 24, more than fifty prominent military leaders, health experts, and advocacy groups called for sweeping measures to tackle obesity within the U.S. Armed Forces, calling the growing obesity epidemic an “existential threat” to national defense. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III — spearheaded by the American Security Project and signed by more than two dozen senior retired military leaders — the signers called on the Pentagon to address rising obesity rates, which worsen the largest recruitment crisis facing the Armed Forces since the initiation of the all-volunteer force and jeopardize military readiness.

All signatories of the call-to-action agreed:

“Despite incredible leaps in medical and nutrition science, obesity and its comorbid conditions in the U.S. Armed Forces remain heavily stigmatized and underprioritized. The Department of Defense must take decisive action to rectify systemic issues preventing individuals with obesity from accessing evidence-based treatments”

The letter recommended the following actions be taken by the U.S. Department of Defense:

  1. A full review of DOD guidelines for identification and treatment of obesity, including statistics on treatment approvals, denials and appeals for existing treatment options;
  2. A system-wide recognition of obesity as a chronic disease that can be treated while in service, provided the service member’s performance standards are being met;
  3. Cost-effective, comprehensive policies for obesity prevention;
  4. Effective early interventions for overweight and obesity for service members, including Guard and Reserve members.
  5. Greater access to credentialed food and nutrition practitioners and the full continuum of evidence-based treatments in consultation with medical professionals.

Read the full letter here.

Coverage of this initiative is available below:

Military Times: Advocates urge Austin to act on active duty obesity ‘epidemic’

Politico Future Pulse: DANGER ZONE: The military should combat the “existential threat” the condition poses to national security

Endocrine Society: Endocrine Society Advocates for DoD Action to Protect Military Readiness

Federal News Network: Coalition urges DoD to tackle obesity epidemic