Too Fat to Serve

by Anne Bennett on May 2, 2010

Retired military officers are speaking out on our nation’s obesity epidemic, which is spreading to the military. One quarter of young military recruits are being disqualified for obesity, far more than any other cause. Furthermore, troops who are already serving are being turned down for promotions because they cannot maintain basic fitness standards, and many are being threatened with discharge if they cannot lose their excess weight.

Profile on obese recruits at Pulau Tekong Camp

The retired generals, John Shalikashvili and Hugh Shelton, two former chairs of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, are so concerned about this trend that they are calling on Congress to pass new child nutrition legislation. With one in three American children now obese, the future of our military, and our national security, is at risk.

Now, I am really glad that our focus is finally being turned to this ‘growing’ problem, but why did it have to come after Jamie Oliver, the British TV chef, brought it to our national attention on his TV show?  What took us so long to look ourselves in the collective mirror and see the results of too much fast, false food?

It is becoming more and more clear to me that the key to addressing this trend is to skip the drive-thru lane, bypass the snack food aisles at the supermarket and begin cooking our own real food. We owe it to ourselves as Americans to learn to cook again. After all, since the beginning of our country we have led the world in everything from education to technology to free enterprise.

Now we are poised to take the lead in another category–fattest people on earth. We cannot allow that to happen.

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