Purchase photos

Soldier honored for health crusade

10/10/2013

By RANDY GONZALES

rgonzales@dailynews.net

Staying physically fit is a weighty issue for those serving in the military, too.

Capt. Sam Gross of the U.S. Army Reserves is doing his part to address the problem as a registered dietician.

Gross, attached to the 391st Medical Logistical Company based in Hays, recently was given the Award of Excellence, which was given to just one registered dietician in 2012 in the Army Reserve.

"I knew I was submitted for the award," Gross said. "I was pleasantly surprised."

Part of Gross' job is to help soldiers make better choices when it comes to eating habits.

"We're seeing military-wide -- Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army -- is that weight issues are very similar to the civilian population," Gross said. "My job has moved to the forefront, with the downsizing of the military coming up in the very near future.

"I'm enabling them to change their philosophy about food, and changing their eating habits and behaviors, and giving sound, scientific data."

Technology works against those in the military trying to achieve a healthy lifestyle, Gross said.

"We've gotten so attached to our computers. We're doing less physical activity than we once did."

Gross has owned his own dietician consulting company, Nutrition Now, since 2006. He provides on-site consulting with hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Gross is awaiting assignment as a dietician with a combat support hospital.