As the Department of Defense looks to save money, reducing health care costs is near the top of the list. Conditions caused by obesity and tobacco use are responsible for about $3 billion in annual Pentagon health care costs, and the DOD recently teamed up with the NBA in an effort to help improve health and well-being at bases around the country, according to The Associated Press.
The program, NBA Cares Hoops for Troops Healthy Military Base Tour, launched last week at Fort Sill and is a joint venture between the league's new Hoops for Troops campaign and the Pentagon's Healthy Base Initiative. Each event will feature visits from players and clinics with an emphasis on well-being. DOD officials say that not only will the program cut health care costs but also improve the force's capabilities.
"Staying healthy is a readiness issue," Rosemary Williams, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, told the AP. "Our service members must be physically prepared to deploy in a moment's notice anywhere around the world to often austere and demanding conditions."
The NBA isn't the only professional sports league to team up with the Armed Forces. Earlier this summer, Major League Baseball joined forces with United Service Organizations to give military families access to the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest at Citi Field in New York.