Unhealthy school lunches pose a threat to national security, according to a group of retired military leaders.
Leaving 27 percent of young adults “too fat to fight,” childhood obesity is jeopardizing military recruitment, according to a report released Tuesday by the non-profit group Mission: Readiness.
The 130-plus retired military leaders making up the organization is joining together to battle the obesity epidemic on the school front.
While putting cafeteria fare on the level of a national security threat may be “dramatic,” “it’s not entirely unjustified” considering how much students eat during the school day, said Karen Glanz, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Medicine and Nursing.
In the report, the retirees called for less junk food in schools, better nutrition programs for kids and overall better funding for federally provided school lunches. The group also appeared on Capitol Hill Tuesday with Sen. Richard Lugar and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to show their support for new legislation on the issue pending in congress.
“Since 1995, the proportion of recruits who failed their physical exams because they were overweight has risen by nearly 70 percent,” said Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A few of the highlights of Michelle Obama’s Fight Against Child Obeisity Campaign –
— The FDA will work with foodmakers to make labels more “customer friendly.” The beverage industry will start putting calorie information on the front of its products.
— The American Academy of Pediatrics will encourage doctors to monitor children’s body mass index, a calculation of height and weight used to measure body fat.
— The Obama administration will ask Congress to spend $10 billion over the next decade to give schools more money to serve healthier food.
— $400 million in tax breaks will be proposed to encourage grocery stores to move into “food deserts,” areas with little access to nutritious food.
— Children will be encouraged to exercise an hour a day.