News > Features
'Too Fat to Fight' report says obesity a threat to national security
By Deborah O'Malley
Obesity is a threat to national security.
That's the finding of a new report released today called "Too Fat to Fight." The report claims 27 percent of young adults in America are simply too fat to join the military.
The report is the work of Mission: Readiness, a non-profit organization made up of senior retired military leaders.
The report says 9 million young adults between ages 17 and 24 are obese and therefore do not meet the fitness requirements for military duty. Weight problems are currently the leading medical reason recruits are rejected by the military.
"We believe that the child obesity issue is so serious it has become a threat to our national security," said Lieutenant General Norman R. Seip, US Air Force (Ret.).
Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack support the group's claim and are throwing their weight behind child nutrition legislation to offer school children healthier cafeteria food options.
The "Too Fat to Fight" study notes up to 40 percent of a child's daily calorie intake occurs at school.
Here are the three main points Military: Readiness wants addressed in a child nutrition bill.
Get junk food and high calorie sugar drinks out of schools.
Support a $1 billion increase each year for the next 10 years to upgrade the quality of meals in school and increase the number of children who could qualify for free or reduced-cost healthy lunches.
Develop school-based strategies to engage children and parents in healthy lifestyles.
Mission: Readiness says in a press release the military is not currently having problems meeting recruitment goals due, in part, to a weak economy that brings in more young people who don't have the means for college.
The concern is when the economy picks up and starts draining the recruit pool.
Chicago Public Schools recently announced a new initiative to improve the nutritional standards for breakfast and lunch offerings in its cafeterias. CPS serves more than 14 million breakfasts and 47 million lunches every school year, according to a CPS spokesperson.
The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children reports obesity rates among Chicago young people are well above the national average. Some 22 percent of children entering CPS schools in 2008 were obese - that's twice the national rate, according to a study by Children's Memorial Hospital.
E-mail this article to a friend | Printer friendly format
Students First Illinois | Ronald J. Gidwitz | 200 South Wacker Drive, Suite 4000 | Chicago, IL 60606 | email | (312) 943-1955 p (312) 943-8397 f
© 2006 Students First. All Rights Reserved