MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Approximately one-third of U.S. adults are obese, a condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. More than 20 percent of U.S. adults smoke cigarettes, which is the leading cause of preventable death, killing one of every five smokers per year.
While obesity may not be as prevalent among the population of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, poor dietary practices along with tobacco use are the norm among the greater population of service members, leading many in the healthy living profession to raise an eyebrow as to why.
“So many Marines who come through here aren’t aware of them having high blood pressure, Marines under 25 years old,” said Terry Rademann, health educator with the Health Promotion and Wellness Department, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune. “A lot of these Marines and other service members aboard the base choose to eat poorly and use alcohol and tobacco products and then think they can make up for it in their (physical training) sessions. There is a lot more in living a healthy lifestyle than to think you can dispel all the bad elements in your body by running every day.”
Rademann, along with the other educators and specialists with the HPWD, host a multitude of healthy living classes for the benefit of the service members, civilian employees and family members, ranging from weight loss and management programs, basic nutrition, healthy food preparation, diabetes and healthy heart programs, pregnancy nutrition class and exercise classes. Yet with all these classes and opportunities to further aid those aboard the base in healthy living options, such everyday ailments as high blood pressure and hypertension plague service members.
“One of the most common unhealthy eating problems is “portion distortion,” where we tend to eat to our appetite and not to a healthy limit that our bodies require,” said Rademann. “The kid’s meal of today is the standard-size adult meal of the 80s. We’ve gotten away from preparing our own, healthy meals to wanting food fast and easy, not really caring about what is in the things we eat.”
Another trend among the active-duty population is the common usage of products that claim to help cut weight or build muscle with protein and creatine supplements.
“Long story short, I spent about $10,000 from ages 18 to 25 trying to find the easy supplemental way of losing weight and building muscle,” said Rademann. “Most of the Marines who use these supplements don’t use them in a way to best fit their individual workout regimes, assuming the supplements they’re using even has the ingredients in them that they claim to.”
A recent class-action lawsuit was taken against Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition, Inc., “global leader in the sports nutrition marketplace,” after recent studies revealed that products that claimed to have creatine in them did not. There are also past and previous lawsuits against celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels, claiming her dietary practices of “telling people you can take two magic pills and then eat chocolate cake all day is a deception,” as told by lawyer Melissa Harnett in 2010.
“There was a 27 year old Marine that was medically discharged due to kidney failure from improper use of supplements and a poor diet,” said Rademann. “It’s amazing what these men and women will do to their bodies to try to improve them. All you need is a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and steady workout routine.”
From fast food to supplements to tobacco and alcohol to energy drinks, service members put all this into their bodies expecting to maintain a healthy physical lifestyle. Rademann, along with the HPWD, is there to preach a message of better living to those that operate aboard MCB Camp Lejeune.
“We want to get your attention before you’re diagnosed with a health-related issue,” said Rademann. “It’s harder when Marines come in here with pre-existing conditions. Knowing what to put into your body and what not to might seem simple, but that’s what we’re here for.”