Nutrition in the News: Are we really “too fat” to fight?

A recent article I read while on my long commute into work really scared me, and no, I wasn’t reading the crime page. The article was about America’s ever-growing childhood obesity epidemic and the relationship between school lunches and military enrollment. Two retired generals were on record saying that our obesity epidemic, especially in children, was no longer just a severe health theat, but was considered an issue of national security. It’s a bit terrifying to realize how out of control this epidemic has spun; that people who are obese are now considered security threats. 

According to the article, which was featured in The Washington Post Express and The Huffington Post, weight problems are now the leading reason possible recruits are being turned away from service. According to a recent study, 27 percent of all Americans aged 17-24 [about 9 million] are too overweight to fight. Although the military is still reaching their recruitment goals, the retired generals and other top military officials are legitimately scared for the future [because of how many children now are considered obese].

With these startling realizations being made, where do we go from here? According to the generals, the health and well-being of our future [children] takes precedent. Luckily, the wheels are already in motion regarding the battle against childhood obesity with the proposed healthy lunch initiative [The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010]. This initiative is gaining serious traction across the US as thousands agree with the language in the bill, which features complete menu overhauls and reduction of soda and vending machines in schools. [Visit my previous NITN segment on the Health kids act for more details on the bill]. 

So will the school lunch overhaul help reduce our childhood obesity rates, which will in turn, increase the number of eligible youth able to serve in the military? Only time will tell, but in my heart of hearts, I’m really hoping so. If we have gotten “too fat to fight”, there is no limitations on what we CAN’T do because of our weight.

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~ by therealnutritionist on May 3, 2010.

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