Main Menu

America to be brought down by junk food? 69% of youth too fat to fight for the military

Great nations have often been subject to being brought down by an “enemy within.” In the case of America, that enemy might well prove to be be obesity. If this generation is too fat to fight, who will be there to defend our country in its time of need?

That’s the question posed by a group of retired military personnel who have formed an organization called “Mission: Readiness.” Made up of “more than 500 retired generals, admirals and other senior retired military leaders,” Mission: Readiness is focused on investing in the youth of America to ensure that our nation remains secure and prosperous in the 21st century.

The Minnesota branch of the organization has prepared a report titled “Too Fat, Frail, and Out-of-Breath to Fight.” It contains a critical look at the state of health among young people in America, particularly those living in Minnesota.

According to the group, 69 percent of Minnesota’s young people are unfit to serve in the military, and obesity is one of the major reasons why. Many of the health issues affecting eligibility for military service, such as asthma – which disqualifies individuals from enlisting unless they have a waiver – are directly or indirectly related to a lack of exercise and poor diet.

The group believes that the military can play a role in helping to solve some of the country’s problems, as it has in the past. One historical example of how this can work was the introduction of the school lunch program during WWII – a program championed by General Lewis Hershey and designed to overcome the malnutrition problem of the time, which was keeping many from serving in the war effort.

Other examples of the military’s positive influence in solving domestic problems include mathematics programs instituted in schools during the Cold War as part of the effort to keep up with the Russians after their successful launching of the Sputnik satellite and former general President Eisenhower’s expansion of the highway system to facilitate the transport of troops and military supplies.