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Nutrition - The Army's New Secret Weapon

As a greater number of recruits arrive at training camps across America overweight and lacking basic nutritional knowledge, the Army is responding by implementing a new program that mirrors an athletic training regimen. 

A well-balanced diet is an integral part of this initiative, but many recruits have no idea what a healthy diet looks like.

According to an Associated Press article by Alan Scher Zaiger, recruits are entering basic training with health issues related to poor nutrition, such as anemia and dental problems.

A 2009 article by Susanne M. Schafer of the Associated Press noted that approximately three out of every ten applicants to the Army are rejected due to obesity and 20-30% of recruits are overweight. 

The Army sees this increase in overweight recruits as a reflection of the overall rise of obesity in America. Lt. General Mark Hertling believes that the Army must adapt to counteract negative trends in the American diet.

Zaiger reports that the Army is now offering milk and juice, plenty of whole grains and a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Healthy foods are color-coded in the chow line so that recruits can easily identify what their options are and make nutritious choices. 

The Army is using professional physical trainers, physical therapists and conditioning coaches along with a healthier diet and nutritional education to improve the flexibility, mobility, coordination, and endurance of recruits.