WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- A group of more than 130 retired U.S. military leaders said the escalating rates of child and teen obesity endangers national security.
The U.S. non-profit group, Mission: Readiness, of retired admirals, generals and other senior military leaders, said 9 million young adults are too overweight to join the military.
The report, "Too Fat to Fight," said more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all teens and young adults age 17-24, are too overweight to join the military.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has reported that since 2000, the number of states with 40 percent or more of young adults overweight increased from one state to 39 states.
"We believe that the child obesity issue is so serious it has become a threat to our national security," retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Norman Seip of Mission: Readiness said in a statement.
The group has joined with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in supporting child nutrition legislation to ban junk food from schools, support the White House proposal to increase $1 billion per year for 10 years for child nutrition programs and develop school-based strategies to help parents and children adopt healthier eating and exercise habits.