Wow. When the National Press Club hosts speakers, the word gets out.
It’s time to fight obesity, military leaders told them this week. You can read the reports in many publications. Here are some snippets:
In the past 60 years, the pool of potential American soldiers has gone from too skinny to too fat.
Now the childhood obesity epidemic is a threat to national security, says a group of veterans.
Obesity is the most common medical reason that potential recruits are disqualified from service, according to the report “Still Too Fat to Fight” released Tuesday by Mission: Readiness, a Washington-based nonprofit representing more than 300 retired military leaders.
MedPage Today, by David Pittman, who was editor-in-chief of The Red & Black when I started working as a freshman!
Mission: Readiness sent this press release, which has the interesting fun facts:
Schools are selling 400 billion calories of junk food every year—the equivalent of nearly two billion candy bars and more than the weight of the aircraft carrier Midway—according a new report from Mission: Readiness, a group of more than 300 retired generals and admirals.
The report, entitled Still Too Fat to Fight, calls for stronger standards for foods and beverages sold at school.
“Childhood obesity is more than just a health issue, it is also a national security issue,” said retired US Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001 to 2005. “Seventy-five percent of all young Americans are unable to join the military and being overweight or obese is the number one medical reason why young adults cannot enlist.”
And then there’s the statement of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, which more fun numbers about the money and numbers behind it all:
Every year the military has to discharge about 1,200 first-term enlistees due to weightrelated issues at a cost upwards of $60 million, and the Department of Defense spends an additional $1.4 billion a year on obesity-related problems.
I am proud that the Department of Defense is doing its part by initiating a groundbreaking campaign to reshape military installations into a healthier environment for troops and their families. We’ve started by updating menu standards in our mess halls and crowding out junk food in vending machines and snack bars with better choices.
Military children are an important focus of our campaign, and we hope that they and their peers in schools off base are provided with healthier options so they have the opportunity to make better choices.
No one who wants to be a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine wakes up at age 17 and suddenly finds himself or herself overweight. Good eating habits are learned early in life and are shaped by parents and the environment where children spend the better part of their day.
Still want to read more? Here’s the link to Mission:Readiness — http://www.missionreadiness.org/2012/stilltoofattofight/