The Skinny on Veteran ObesityFriday, May 17, 2019
Joining the military is a brave and noble duty. We appreciate their dedication and thank them for their service. Servicemen and women are brave and fight everyday not knowing if they will make it to the next day and deal with a lot of post-combat issues. Many Veterans leave the military in great physical shape, but it doesn’t always last years after their service is complete. Often Veterans become overweight years after and statistics show that out of the 33,000 September 11 service members and veterans, 52% qualify as “obese” and 6.2% qualify as “morbidly obese”. These numbers, surprisingly, has increased 48.6% over the last two years alone.
The Wounded Warrior Project and the nonprofit’s research partner, Westat, found that out of those surveyed, 42% said they haven’t exercised (at least three times a week) since they left their service and those who kept healthy eating habits were in the minority. Veterans have had many reasons why this is happening and include fear of injury, lack of time, and feeling uncomfortable in social situations. Additionally, Westat associated depression, sleep, stress and military to civilian transition as causes for their weight gain. One veteran wrote “I only feel comfortable in combat; I do not feel comfortable in civilian life or trust it”. Veterans have devoted a lot of their time to combat and have issues transitioning out of that mindset and lifestyle. According to the study, 90% or more of the Service Members and Veterans participating were currently enlisted in the military and 45% deployed three or more times in their career. Coming home permanently was a big change for them and some needed help to get re-acclimated.
There is help Veterans can seek if they want to better their lifestyle choices. The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (the VA) has programs that Veterans who are struggling with their weight can attend and get help. The VA also offers weight loss surgeries and nutritional counseling that could be partially or fully covered. The VA isn’t the only place Veterans can go to get help. The Wounded Warrior Project also offers demanding programs and coaching to help Veterans get back on track and commit to a healthier way of life. The Weight and Metabolic Disorder Clinic, known in military-speak as WAMD (pronounced wham-D), has a great program for Veterans as well.
While life after being in combat for a while isn’t easy, there are many programs available to Veterans so they do not have to combat this new lifestyle alone. We need to make sure these services stay open to keep helping and supporting our troops.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with receiving care through the VA, please contact the experienced lawyers at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco, and Rosasco at 855-280-7586 for a free no-obligation consultation.