Obesity jeopardizing the military: Are school lunches to blame?
Posted Apr 22 2010 8:01am
Recent news reports a whopping 75% of the nation’s young adults fail to qualify for military service. According to the pentagon, obesity is the number one reason why they are ineligible. In fact, Major General Kelley, US Army (Ret.) stated, “Being overweight or obese is a major disqualifying factor for young adults applying for military service. An estimated one out of four of all young people ages 17 to 24 are too heavy to serve in the military. In the past 30 years, child obesity rates have more than tripled. Obesity has become more than a major health problem. If we don’t address this problem now, we are putting our national security at risk.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity in children has more than tripled since 1980. Nearly a third of children are overweight or obese and 23 % of young adults are considered obese. As I noted in my article, Blurt: Wake Up America are You Healthy? “Mintel, a market research leader, found that only 25% of survey respondents said they suffer from or have been diagnosed as being obese or overweight. According to the Center for Disease Control, however, 67% of Americans fall into this category and likewise Mintel found 65% of the respondents were actually obese or overweight.”
So, are school lunches to blame? Well, I would have to say, in part, yes. However, I believe it is a reflection of our society as a whole. We have become a drive thru nation never bothering to do a little exercise. Fast food is the norm; we no longer eat as a family unit at the dinner table with a healthy home cooked meal. When we eat at home we do it in front of the TV or the computer. We no longer get out of our cars to go to the bank, the Laundromat or to even get married in Vegas. Our children no longer play chase, hide and seek or red rover. Instead they sit at a computer and play on Facebook, they sit at the TV and play games, and they sit and text their friends. Our children no longer walk to school; instead the bus picks up even the kids that live next door. These are a few of the reasons our young adults are obese.
By all means, please make our school lunches more nutritious. But until we as a society wake up and realize there is a problem with our weight this will not change. We must do something about our values and our attitudes. And as I stated in my earlier article, “We need to demand the fast food industry provide nutrition information and better food choices. We must educate our children in proper nutrition and exercise. We need to eat as a family and rebuild our relationships. We need to turn off the TV and take the kids outside to play. A fundamental change is needed.”