In an effort to encourage young Americans to join the military, a number of military leaders have come out swinging against school lunches, saying the high calorie, unhealthy food choices are contributing to the obesity rate of young people, making them unfit for military service and thereby endangering our national security.

According to the statement issued by a group of retiredmilitary officers regarding their "Mission: Readiness" report, 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too fat to join the military.


They also contend that the government spends millions of dollars every year training replacements for those discharged because of weight problems.

Oddly enough, the school lunch program was pushed by the military in 1946 in order to assure our young people were healthy and fit to serve.

The group is urging Congress to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into the school lunch program and develop new strategies that help children develop healthier habits, according to their press release.


While noting other major factors that can keep young adults from joining the military – such as lacking a high school diploma or having a serious criminal record – the report, called Too Fat to Fight, said that weight problems have become the leading medical reason why recruits are rejected for service.

The military is doing their part to try and assist in the recruitment of overweight candidates: if you apply but are found to be out of the range of acceptable weight limitations, they will provide you with a diet and fitness program so that you can try and get to the healthiest weight for service.

MISSION: READINESS is a national non-profit group of more than 130 retired admirals, generals and other military leaders, including two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton (Ret.) and General John Shalikashvili (Ret.).

Visit their website to learn more. Below is a video news report on the subject.

Original Post
You know....this is kinda off topic but on point.  Some parents are to blame for exposing their children to bad eating habits.  Take birthdays for instance.  Instead of making a homemade cake, cooking real food [so kids can SEE what a real potato/tomato etc look like and having the celebration in the backyard [socializing with community] like old times, new parents are spending a gang of money taking their children to Chucky Cheese or other kid friendly places that do NOT provide healthy foods or teach "healthy" socialization skills.  I am a HUGE tickler against this form of child entertainment.  As a result down the line, children become arrogant and think money grows on trees or do not understand the "value" of money and don't understand or care that they have to work for,  they do not understand the importance of nutrition, cooking your own food and having the knowledge of what's in it.  This may not seem like a connection right now.  But as children grow into adults, their inability to comprehend the dynamics of basic survival tools will have an impact on them  long term in all areas of human activity.  This include joining the service, going off to college or finding a job. 

So if children don't know or are not exposed to the importance of small things like family time at home or even learn what "real" food looks like and how to prepare it.  How can they learn the importance of other things crucial to our lifestyle like protecting our country during peace and at war,  Understanding the component of these essentials begin as a children.  It is in my opinion that some parents are failing to do their part in showing this [forementioned] to their kids early...and this is a BIG disservice to them.....why have 'em if you're not gonna teach them correctly[?]...but!
Koco, that was a great point and from a military's prespective, especially in terms of the Army and Marines, this overall pre-conditioned lethargic, lazy, tech savvy and privledged "it's all about me" nature of today's children only causes the military to wash out at a much higher percentage of soldiers before the 6 weeks of basic training ends.

In the past, teenage recruits came directly from the streets into military basic training on average, at a decent level of physical fitness (the diet was to some degree, the same as today) due to their everyday civilian physical activites (playing outside, organized or unorganized, track, football, baseball, basketball etc) and the drill sergeant's knew that they only had to concentrate on improving the overall physical training, conditioning, stamia and mental attitude of those recruits and not be a ad hoc personal trainer/life coach/dietician/ "The Biggest Loser" type of instructor focusing soley on major weight loss.

Now, with an average platoon size of 30 to 35 soldiers in basic training and a cost of $50,000 per recruit to train,, possibly 1/2 to 3/4, instead of 1/4, of those recruits will wash out based on excessive weight and very little or no physical fitness at all coming in.

And the Army, after watching their readiness numbers steadily spiral downward, those generals will be forced to adjust their standards and allows a larger percentage based on "a new entry standard" to get initially weight challenged recruits through basic training after graduation and on to the next level, Advanced Individual Training (AIT), but... the problem will still exist and weight will still be the culprit that will wash out many more and once assigned to a regular unit, even more wash outs at a much higher cost in readiness and $$$$ to the military and the taxpayer.

And the way the Army & Marines currently operates, soldiers and marines are weighed at least twice per year (usually in conjunction with the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), to ensure they meet Army standards for weight and fitness. The Army has separate weight standards for those applying to join the Army and Marines. Soldiers who exceed the weight indicated for their age/height on the below chart are measured for body-fat content The weight chart is a screening tool. Just because a Soldier or Marine exceeds the weight on the chart does not mean that Soldier is overweight. 

Body-Fat standards for Army Male Soldiers are:

Age 17-20 - 20%
Age 21-27 - 22%
Age 28-39 - 24%
Age 40+ - 26%

Open link for Army Height/Weight table:

And these body fat percentage numbers are common with recruits who come into the Army in good physical shape with body fat % numbers a little higher that those listed and maintain and over time, improve, meet and excced on those numbers. It's really different with those teenagers with starting percentages of 35-40% and above in overall body fat coupled with a severe lack of physical fitness.

The military deals with the mental & physical readiness "build you up by breaking you down" aspects as a tradition but the amount of excess physical & mental weight, coupled with the couch potato mentaility of today's teenagers? It will be a new challenge for the military.

Yep...exactly!  Brotha Cholly.  And the thing is...some parent WON'T listen!  Them...[this is terrible/ bad english...but!] themselves are immature....and are TRULY the LAZY ones.  Cuz they don't wanna do the work required to raise healthy, self-sufficient adults.  It's easy to go to Chucky Cheese....or buy those $400 tennis shoes or other riduclous expensive items...just to prove to the outside WORLD that they can afford it...when in actuality...they. can NOT!  There is more to lose than just money.  What is lost is the teaching to children what integrity, dignity, pride and other personal attributes mean to them and society as a whole.  And these components [by the way] have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with MONEY.  Cuz it is for can't bring back the dead and it definitely cannot cure illness/disease which both can be [if we are not careful] the straight and direct ramifications of poor/improvish life /and or the true basis for inquality of living life.  And for the populus....we ALL suffer.  But!

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