Retired Lt. General Norm Seip, U.S. Air Force, a member of MISSION: READINESS, a non-partisan national security organization of senior retired military leaders calling for smart investments in America's children, said being overweight or obese is the No. 1 medical reason why young adults cannot enlist.
The military recognizes this as a national security issue because the armed forces depend on individuals who are physically fit to serve, Seip said.
The group applauded the the U. S. Department of Agriculture for updating decades-old standards for "competitive foods and beverages" to reflect the latest nutritional science.
Limiting the sale of junk food in schools isn't a solution in itself, but the sales of junk food and sugary drinks in school vending machines and cafeterias work against national efforts to ensure healthier eating for students.
"Retired admirals and generals have been eagerly awaiting some common sense standards because kids are currently buying 400 billion calories of junk food at school every year," Seip said in a statement. "We fought hard to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act because we are deeply disturbed by the fact that 1 in 4 young Americans are too overweight to benefit from the honor and achievement of military service."
The U.S. Department of Defense alone spends over $1.1 billion per year for medical care associated with weight-related health problems, Seip said.