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Young people too fat to protect U.S.

  • 21 April 2010
  • Written by 
  • Published in Health

According to a group of retired military leaders, obesity problems with our youth are threatening the ability of the military to protect the United States of America. We are too fat to join the military.

The April 20, 2010 USA Today article Facing unfit recruits, military leaders target food in schools, states, 'The obesity epidemic is threatening national security, so schools '” which are on the front lines in battling the problem '” need to boot out junk food and serve healthier snacks and meals, a group of retired military leaders is announcing today.'

This group of retired military officers have joined together in Mission: Readiness, Military Leaders for Kids, an organization that is highlighting the increasing problem of finding qualified young adults to serve in the military.

On Tuesday, April, 20, 2010, these retired military leaders, along with U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (Rep.-Indiana) and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, released new findings on the dramatic increase of obesity among young adults age 17 to 24 years and its negative consequences towards U.S. national security.

This dramatic increase in obesity within our young people is reducing the numbers of young adults that are eligible to serve in the military.

And, it is an alarming trend that is threatening the ability of the United States to protect itself militarily from our adversaries in foreign countries and here at home.

The group states that about 25% of young adults, 17 to 24 years of age are unqualified to serve in the military because they are overweight or obese (extremely overweight).

Other problems coming out of this group's concern within young adults and their unqualified reasons to serve in the military is not having a high school education, having a criminal record, or having medical problems (which is often related to being overweight or obese).

Page two continues the story on Mission: Readiness and their fight to slim down our young people.



Mission: Readiness is a bi-partisan, non-profit group of about 130 retired generals, admirals, and other senior military leaders from the United States military that are addressing the problems of finding qualified people to serve in the military.

They, as a group, want to ensure ''¦ continued American security and prosperity into the 21st century by calling for smart investments in the next generation of American children.'

Retired rear admiral Jamie Barnett, one of the group's members, states, "When that many young adults can't fight because of their weight, it affects our national preparedness and national security.' [USA Today]

The group is supporting the Child Nutrition Act because of the poor quality foods being served in U.S. schools today.

Currently, about 31 million children eat lunch at school every day, and 11 million eat breakfast there. In addition, about one-third to one-half of all calories consumed in a day by children and young adults are consumed in school. Thus, the ability of school children to slim down is partially the responsibility of our school system, which is why these military leaders are promoting healthy eating in schools.

The group states that about 75% of young adults in the United States today, age 17 to 24 years, are unfit to join the military because they are too heavy in weight, did not graduate from high school, have criminal records, or have medical problems.

They state that at least 9 million young people are 'too fat to fight.'

Page three continues with information on the report 'Too Fat To Fight' and where to read more about it.




The Child Nutrition Act is a federal law that was signed on October 11, 1966 by president Lyndon B. Johnson. The Act established, included, or supported such programs as the National School Lunch Program, the Special Milk Program, and the School Breakfast Program. It is currently inactive, but is in the process of being re-authorized by members of the U.S. Congress.

The retired military group has published the report 'Too Fat to Fight.' It states, in part, 'Retired Military Leaders Want Junk Food Out of America's Schools.'

The report also states, 'As retired Generals, Admirals, and other senior leaders of the United States Armed Forces, we know firsthand that national security must be America's top priority.'

'Our organization recently released a report citing Department of Defense data indicating that an alarming 75 percent of all young Americans 17 to 24 years of age are unable to join the military because they failed to graduate from high school, have criminal records, or are physically unfit.'

'Being overweight or obese turns out to be the leading medical reason why applicants fail to qualify for military service. Today, otherwise excellent recruit prospects, some of them with generations of sterling military service in their family history, are being turned away because they are just too overweight.'

Barnett adds, "We are hitting our recruitment needs, but we know that some of that has to do with the economy, and those of us who have served are concerned about the trends for the future. Our national security in 2030 is absolutely dependent on reversing the alarming rates of childhood obesity." [USA Today]

The group states, 'We need a bold strategy to inspire our young people to do better, and to increase the chances that they will succeed.'

So, 'Uncle Sam Wants You '¦ Fit, Educated, and Healthy!'




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