Program is fighting obesity epidemic among veterans

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- With every step and bead of sweat comes a sense of accomplishment as this group of warriors are taking control of their health.

"I actually feel great about myself. It makes me feel like I've done something with my life," says Move Out participant Nimrod Allen Jr.

As the obesity crisis grows, VA officials began noticing this problem among our service men and women returning to civilian life.

"It`s possible that a stress response of over eating is something that manifests especially because we`re pushing so hard to avoid the stress response of over smoking or over drinking," says Dr. Jeff Whittle with the Zablocki VA Medical Center.

This prompted the Zablocki VA Medical Center to kick off project Move Out.

It's a weight management program for vets that offers group fitness classes and healthy eating workshops.

"It helped me out to stay focused, meet new friends, and help me to exercise more," says Allen.

Since joining the program Aivars Bergmanis lost 50 pounds!

Now he's inspiring others to do the same.

"You can see they`re happier, more satisfied, they got more pop to their step when they`re coming in here to exercise it feels good," says Bergmanis.

There are 13 satellite locations in the Greater Milwaukee Area providing these services.

Not only is it free, veterans are also encouraged to bring their family and friends.

"One of the things we know about weight loss is you`re a lot more successful if you`re with somebody else," says Dr. Whittle.

It's that drive for success that's pushing these vets to move.

Move Out is funded by a 3 year grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For more information on getting involved in this program, CLICK HERE.