Doctor McBarron Makes a Visit To The Troops

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Jan McBarron, MD, ND spends a day at Fort Benning to get a glimpse of the current state of military weight issues. McBarron surprisingly, didn’t see a lot of offenses, but instead left the soldiers with some valuable nutrition and fitness advice.

Dr. McBarron

Dr. McBarron

With the rise of obesity rates in the news recently, it is worth pointing out that soldiers in the US Army aren’t immune to the epidemic. Dr. Jan McBarron, a local Columbus, GA, area bariatrician and naturopathic physician, was invited on Thursday to speak to a group of Fort Benning soldiers on the weight challenges they face, despite the active lifestyle of the armed services. The invitation followed the conclusion of a review of surveys done on each soldiers’ typical dietary habits and exercise routines.

Upon her visit to Fort Benning, McBarron toured the dining facility and completed a menu analysis of the food options available, including the red, yellow and green-labeled choices denoting each item as high in fat, to ‘ok in moderation’ and a ‘good choice’, respectively. She then moved on to discuss the topic of nutrition with the facility’s staff, asking if the food servers typically granted soldier requests for ‘seconds’, which they always did in order not to offend anyone. However, the staff did notice an increase in soldiers choosing healthier fare, which may also be in part due to the paper information tents printed with nutrition facts one would find on each cafeteria table.

McBarron then participated in a demonstration of the soldiers’ ‘tape test’ – the test which gathers an individual’s physical measurements deeming the soldier fit or unfit to remain in the army. This opened the door for McBarron to provide explanation of common “portion distortions” and food misconceptions. One example included sugar content in a few popular weekend drink choices: beer, liquor, soda and high sugar content energy drinks. McBarron revealed the disturbing amount of true sugar content in the average beer and light beer; then she showed the same in a standard shot glass – the result of both being filled with sugar cubes, and hard alcohol being the worst offender.

McBarron concluded the presentation with weight loss tips (the dos and don’ts) she recommends stemming from the success of her own weight loss. She suggested the soldiers focus on drinking a minimum of three bottles of water a day, snacking on healthy protein such as a handful of nuts, eating three servings of fruit per day and taking a 10-minute walk after dinner. These nutritional changes make the utmost difference, even for soldiers who already get two hours of physical training each day. Lastly, she mentioned the importance of taking a high quality multivitamin, which would supplement for the lack of nutrients found in our food.

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Shana Whitener
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