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NBA, Pentagon team to improve health on bases

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NEW YORK (AP)

The NBA and the Department of Defense are teaming up to help service members and their families get healthier.

The ''NBA Cares Hoops for Troops Healthy Military Base Tour'' launches Thursday, a program that will feature player visits and clinics at military bases in the U.S, hosted by current and former NBA and WNBA players, coaches and officials.

The first one is Thursday at Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

The NBA said research has indicated that obesity and tobacco use among U.S. military add more than $3 billion per year to the DOD budget in health care costs and lost duty days.

''We have a responsibility as a league to do whatever we can to help in the area of health and wellness, especially as it relates to the men and women who serve and protect us each and every day,'' NBA senior vice president of social responsibility Todd Jacobson said in a statement.

The joint effort is part of the NBA's ''Hoops for Troops'' program and the Pentagon's ''Healthy Base Initiative,'' which began earlier this year to examine efforts to improve nutritional choices and increase physical activity on select bases.

Rosemary Williams, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, said ''a healthy and fit force is essential to national security.''

''Staying healthy is a readiness issue,'' Williams said. ''Our service members must be physically prepared to deploy in a moment's notice anywhere around the world to often austere and demanding conditions.''

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