Obesity among children in America is becoming a widespread epidemic with everyone from First Lady Michelle Obama to celebrity entertainers to concerned parents weighing in on the debate. Now the soldiers who once put their lives on the line for our country are joining in and placing the blame on junk food served in schools for young men and women being too overweight to join the military.
USA Today recenty took a closer look at the growing epidemic and the soldiers’ mission to help:
Several hundred retired military leaders are raising red flags about childhood obesity in the USA and its impact on finding qualified recruits, calling for junk food to be booted out of schools.
Mission: Readiness, a group of more than 300 retired generals and admirals, is releasing a new report today saying that the 40% of students who buy high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food from school vending machines and cafeteria a la carte lines consume an average of 130 calories a day from those types of foods (candy, chips, cookies, pastries). That’s roughly 5% to 10% of the calories kids and teens should eat in a day.
Three-quarters of those ages 17 to 24, or about 26 million young people, cannot serve in the military, a quarter of them because they are overweight or obese, says retired Air Force lieutenant general Norman Seip, a spokesman for Mission: Readiness, which advocates policies that would help young Americans get ready to serve. Other reasons young people can’t join if they want to: They don’t have a high school diploma, have criminal records or suffer from other health problems.
About a third of children and teens are obese or overweight, putting kids at a greater risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other health problems. They are also more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Obesity is still climbing among boys ages 12 to 19, government statistics show.
Do you think removing junk food from schools would solve the problem of obesity in children and teens?
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