22 December 2013

DoD Chow Halls Serve Unhealthy Food, Promote Obesity | RallyPoint.com

By Lance Cpl. Alejandro Bedoya

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Operation Live Well, a year-long program supporting the healthy-base initiative, encourages Combat Center patrons to practice healthy lifestyles, which battle obesity and tobacco use. These behaviors include physical fitness, mental fitness and healthy eating habits. Many Marines and sailors are issued meal cards and depend on the chow halls for their primary means of food. Department of Defense mess facilities have changed their menus to meet the nutritional needs of those meal card holders and give them healthier options.

“We changed our chow halls to be more like a food court,” said June Richardson, area operations manager, Sodexo government services. “We wanted the service members to be able to come in and be able to have multiple options instead of just having two lines to choose from.”

There are separate lines in each chow hall to meet the needs of each customer. Each line serves different types of food including rice, fruit, steamed vegetables and soups. The chow halls also contain salad bars where patrons may create their own salad with various toppings and dressings. The food service Marines will respond to any feedback provided by people eating at the mess hall.

Operation Live Well, a year-long program supporting the healthy-base initiative, encourages Combat Center patrons to practice healthy lifestyles, which battle obesity and tobacco use. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Alejandro Bedoya)

“We have multiple ways of receiving feedback,” said Bill Gearhart, technical representative. “People can go online to submit an interactive customer evaluation or fill out a comment card in the chow halls.”

The interactive customer evaluations may be submitted by going to the Combat Center’s food service web page. The link is located at the bottom of the page.

Comment cards may also be used by going to the mess hall and filling one out. A response to both of these surveys is usually given with 24 hours.

“We want good and bad feedback,” Gearhart said. “We want to be able to respond to what people have to say and make our chow halls the best they can possibly be.”

The Marine Corps is well-known for striving to be the best. The Corps’ standards force Marines to be mentally and physically fit. Marines are strongly encouraged to have healthy eating habits to assist in meeting those standards.

“We have to eat healthy to avoid injury,” said Cpl. Daniel Logan, infantryman, 1st Tank Battalion. “The first step of eating healthy is having those options.”


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