Samueli Institute Takes to the Hill to Talk about Wellness on Military Bases

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Washington, D.C. - June  26, 2014

Samueli Institute Vice President Kevin Berry, MD, spoke before members of the American Logistics Association (ALA) today about wellness initiatives on U.S. military bases. Following a panel of experts on the Healthy Base Initiative, Dr. Berry’s comments provided insight into Samueli Institute’s ground-breaking research in the area of health and wellness.

“We need to approach health in the U.S. as a strategic imperative,” said Dr. Berry. “There’s more to health than just medical care. We (at the Institute) are interested in examining the science of healing from a whole-person perspective. This will require a change in mindset for the health care industry if we shift from disease care to preventative care.”

The day-long event was organized by ALA, a nonprofit association that brings together food, beverage and transportation executives who supply military bases around the world. The morning discussions focused on the need to facilitate change within the military in respect to health as a means to ensure force readiness. Charles Milam, Director of the Military Family and Community Policy, addressed issues such as rising obesity rates and tobacco in Service members, expressing the need for action.

“We have work to do, we need to invest in their (Service members’) health,” Milam said. “This isn’t something we have to do for just the military, it’s something we have to do for the nation.”

Milam was preceded by the Healthy Base Initiative panel, which spoke on the holistic approach to achieving wellness within the military community. Captain Kimberly Elenberg of the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense of Health Affairs, said that the time is now to act on health approaches for the nation’s Service members. Other panelists discussed cost-effective measures to achieve wellness such as camera systems in fitness facilities so that they can remain open for longer hours, education in healthy eating by involving chefs from the Culinary Institute of America and incorporating farmers markets on military bases.

Dr. Berry echoed those sentiments.

“We have a health care system that is very good at per capita spending,” he said. “But, health care doesn’t spend a whole lot on prevention. In the U.S. today we’ve largely forgotten how to think about food. With so many overly processed, overly fried foods out there, the options are so far removed from their original form.”

Learn more about Samueli Institute’s research in health and nutrition.