By Lt. Col. Patricia McKinney

Special to the Hood Herald

The proportion of overweight Americans has increased over the last decade and the proportion of those who are obese has doubled.

Just as the nation struggles with the obesity epidemic, so does the military community. Data analyzed from the Clinical Data Repository (patient height and weight records) in February 2009 showed that 68 percent of active-duty family members, retirees and retiree family members 17 years old and older are overweight.

Obesity places an immense burden on the health and well-being of individuals, communities and health care systems. Health and weight are connected. It is proven that being overweight or obese increases an individual's risk of health conditions such as type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The good news is that these risks can be prevented and controlled by making positive lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and moving more.

Army MOVE! is a weight management program to help individuals lose weight, keep it off and improve health. It is designed to help people discover nutrition and physical activity strategies that will get them started on their way to success.

The program offers real-time sessions online or face-to-face in a medical treatment facility or wellness center, coached by registered dietitians and other health care providers. In addition, participants have access to self-management tools to include a customized individualized report identifying obstacles to weight management.

With an Army Knowledge Online account, soldiers, retirees, family members and Defense Department civilians can all access Army MOVE! Direct URL is at www.us.army.mil/suite/page/248187.

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