The U.S. Department of Defense must recruit nearly 190,000 new military personnel annually to replace those retiring or leaving military service for other reasons. It’s a growing challenge to qualify applicants, however, because of America’s obesity problem.

Today, nearly one-quarter of all applicants to the military are medically disqualified because of excessive weight and body fat, ranking obesity at the top of the list of disqualifications. In fact, the obesity exclusion rate is nearly twice that of the next reason for ineligibility – marijuana use – at 13 percent.

The high cost of obesity doesn’t end with basic training. The DoD spends well over $1 billion each year treating military personnel for weight-related diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
PARENTS: Use your  purse power


Raising healthy, fit children to become healthy, fit adults is an essential part of building a strong nation and a strong military. As a military family, you can stem the tide of obesity at home – and in the service – with just one simple approach.

The 5-2-1-0 Strategy is a mixture of simple ideas from other established and effective practices that help prevent childhood obesity and set children and adults on a healthier life-long path. Because it’s easy to remember, members of your family can monitor themselves. And because it’s easy to do, you can institute changes at home that will make a lasting difference.


5 - Eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily

Eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily

Add leafy vegetables, like fresh spinach, to tomato sauces, soups, stews and rice

Mash cauliflower instead of potatoes to serve as a side

Cut up apples for the family’s evening snack – instead of chips or pretzels

2 – Watch two hours or less of screen
time daily


Work out a screen time schedule with the kids and help them stick to it. Reduce your own screen time too!

Consider covering the TVs and computers with blankets when they’re not on the schedule. “Out of sight, out of mind.”

1 – Get one hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity


If the kids are involved in sports, it’s your turn to get active and set an example of what adulthood looks like.

Be active together, with nightly walks after dinner, weekend hikes or bike rides, and active vacations.

0 – Drink zero sugar-sweetened drinks


Don’t buy it, don’t have it in the house, don’t order it at restaurants.

A recent Department of Defense Youth Poll showed that 25-35 percent of military kids intend to join military service as adults. Yet, 27 percent of young adults who sign up today are too overweight to serve. Whether you’re looking toward a military career or not, take your future in hand by staying at a healthy weight and remaining active for life.


You are the front line of your own future. You won’t always be able to rely on your parents, teachers and other adults to guide your actions; soon every decision you make will be your own. Your teen years are an ideal time to begin realizing the effect your actions have on yourself, your friends, your family, your education, your success and your future. Your health is a big aspect of who you are now, and who you will become.


Is a mix of ideas from a number of experts on how to set yourself on a healthy path. It’s easy to follow because it’s got just four things to remember:

5 – Eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily
2 – Watch two hours or less of screen time daily
1 – Get one hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
0 – Drink zero sugar-sweetened drinks


So how can you put that strategy in place? Make it gradual and make it yours. Here are a few ideas


5 - Eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily

Switch to celery or carrots instead of chips at lunch

Order or substitute a salad instead of fries

Munch on an apple while you study or read
2 – Watch two hours or less of screen time daily

For 3 or 4 days, write down every time you’re in front of the TV or computer (yes, texting counts). Then look at how much time that adds up to. Now prioritize what you liked best on that list – your favorite shows, games, sites, social media – and aim toward cutting back to just two hours of those favorite things each day. You can do it.

If you have a TV or computer (or tablet) in your bedroom, move it out! You won’t be tempted to always be in front of the screen that way.

1 – Get one hour or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity


Cutting down on screen time just might give you enough time to walk the dog, ride your bike to a friend’s house or do some weight training at the gym.

You can count any moderate-to-vigorous activity you do at school, or as part of a sport, in the one hour per day. But the weekends are up to you. Be sure to get into the daily workout habit now so you’re into it as you age.

Break up the one hour into 15-minute blocks of walking, running, swimming, biking – whatever.
 
0 – Drink zero sugar-sweetened drinks


Don’t buy it, don’t have it in the house, don’t order it at restaurants.

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