Retired Military Leaders Call Obesity Threat To National Security, Plan Press Conference

Sept. 19, 2012

Mission: Readiness, a nonpartisan national security organization of senior retired military leaders calling for smart investments in America's children, is giving a press conference on Sept. 25, 2012 focusing on the impact of childhood obesity on national security.

Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who served as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, will join other retired generals and admirals who are members of the national security organization Mission: Readiness in issuing a new report on improving the quality of food served in schools. The report will show that a shocking amount of what the organizstion defines as junk food is sold in U.S. schools each year and its availability undermines efforts by parents and schools to teach children to eat healthier meals and snacks. 

Noting that many children get as much as half their daily calories at school, the report focuses on the need to remove the so-called junk foods sold at school and urges the federal government to update decades-old standards for foods sold in school vending machines, a la carte lines and snack bars. The report also strongly supports steps schools are already taking this year to improve meals served in cafeteria lines.

The new report, Still Too Fat to Fight, reinforces recent recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, which call for making the school environment a focal point for addressing our nation's obesity crisis.

Mission: Readiness leaders also will discuss alarming trends that affect our national security, including that 75 percent of 17- to 24-year olds in the U.S. cannot serve in the military. Being overweight is the number one medical reason why young adults cannot enlist with 1 in 4 too overweight to join the military.