Policy and Advocacy

251. Military Crisis: The Link Between Obesity and National Security

Sunday, October 21
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
CE: 1.5

Session Level 2 - Intermediate

Recruiters are struggling to find qualified candidates to enter the military. Just as challenging is the ability to retain those who serve. This session will explore the impact of obesity on military readiness and national security. Panelists will discuss policy changes that are needed to ensure the nation’s servicemen and servicewomen have access to nutrition services and the support needed to defend our country.

Planned with the Legislative and Public Policy Committee

Learning Objectives:

Learning Need Codes:

  • 1080 - Legislation, public policy
  • 4040 - Disease prevention
  • 5370 - Weight management, obesity (disease/disorder)

Jeanne Blankenship, MS, RDN


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Alana Cline, PhD, RDN

I am the moderator and will not be presenting information on the topic at the session.


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Don Shell, MD, MA


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Heidi Clark, MS, RD

Lt Col Heidi Clark is currently the Nutritional Medicine Flight Commander at David Grant Medical Center (DGMC), Travis AFB, CA. As Air Mobility Command Consultant Dietitian, she advises leadership on nutrition policies and oversees medical nutrition therapy provided within DGMC and within AMC. She serves as the lead Trusted Care Coach-Champion for DGMC, directing training and mentorship for patient safety peer coaches and ensuring DGMC’s forward progress toward Zero Harm. Lt Col Clark entered the USAF in 1998 to participate in the US Military Dietetic Internship. Over her 20-year Air Force career, she has provided nutrition care in diverse settings, from outpatient health promotion to inpatient intensive care. She deployed in 2005 and 2014 in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. Lt Col Clark was the nutrition expert for the development of 2 VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines; she represented the USAF in the 2018 Roundtable on Obesity Solutions hosted by the National Academies focusing on the impact of obesity in the military; and has published articles pertaining to military dietetics, eating behaviors and weight, and nutrition student success.


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Michael Daggett, SMSgt

Sergeant Daggett began his military career in 1991 with the Maine Air National Guard as an Air Traffic Control Radar maintenance technician. He has deployed in support of Operations Joint Guard and Joint Endeavor to Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia and Germany. He has served honorably with the New Hampshire ANG and the National Guard Bureau in Washington DC and he is currently serving as the superintendent of Recruiting and Retention for the state of Indiana.

His distinguished career has earned him numerous awards and decorations. His resume includes to National Awards: The Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems Maintainer of the Year in 1997 and the Rookie Recruiter of the Year in 2002. He has been awarded the Meritorious service medal twice, The Air Force Commendation medal 3 times and the Air Force Achievement medal 4 times.

The call to serve extends beyond the battlefield, because of his involvement since inception with the Folds of Honor, the Air Force presented him with the Outstanding Military Volunteer Medal. Sergeant Daggett formed the Folds of Honor Indiana Chapter and currently volunteers as the Chapter’s President. In addition, Sergeant Daggett continues to serve those who suffer from Obesity while wearing the military uniform through Operation FatDag™ 501(c)(3). In August 2019, he will retire from the United States Air Force, Indiana Air National Guard to bridge the gap between Obesity and National Security.

Sergeant Daggett married his high school sweetheart Janine in 1995 and they reside in Carmel, Indiana with their 17-year-old daughter Megan.


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Nicole Jannah

Nichole Jannah received her BS from the College of William & Mary and is currently an MPH candidate in the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, where she is on staff for the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance in the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness. Her research aims to identify and address systemic barriers that hinder effective obesity management efforts.


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251. Military Crisis: The Link Between Obesity and National Security

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