Here is the article: (I copy/pasted it for those who aren't able to click through links)
(CNN) -- Childhood obesity isn't just a health issue, according to a group of retired military leaders. It's also a national security issue.One in four young adults are too overweight to join the U.S. military, a new report from the advocacy group Mission: Readiness says. And the U.S. Department of Defense spends an estimated $1 billion each year on medical care related to obesity issues for active duty members, their dependents and veterans."No other major country's military forces face the challenges of weight gain confronting America's armed forces," according to the report.
"At the end of the day, the reason America is safe and sound is not because of its tanks," adds retired Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, spokesman for Mission: Readiness. "It's really the men and women who volunteer and so proudly serve."
Kids on average consume 130 "empty" calories a day from candy, cookies and chips, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mission: Readiness has been working to get rid of junk food in schools since 2010, when it supported the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The act requires the USDA to update nutrition standards in schools.
Mission: Readiness believes having healthier food in the cafeteria and in vending machines will help slow - or even reverse - rising childhood obesity rates. And healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy adults who can serve their country
"We're not picking on the schools," Seip says. "The schools are part of the solution. We like to think that this obesity problem... is one that's going to require all of America to tackle."
While I am not usually one to post news type articles, this one really hit me. It IS scary to think that our military defenses could be compromised because our young people are too obese to meet the physical requirements of military service. But the real reason it struck me so hard was that I identify totally with this problem.
Although I never aspired to military service, I did, at one point in my life, aspire to being a police officer. I even got a degree in Criminal Justice (that was before I learned how to clean teeth). However, I never pursued my desire to join the police because, at the time, I knew I would NEVER be able to complete and pass the physical training. It's just another reminder of the limits that my weight put on me and allowed me to put on myself.
I was overweight or obese from my childhood through the majority of my adulthood. It's still a touch painful to think about all the ambitions and experiences that I never pursued or had the courage to pursue because of my weight.
This makes me sad because I know there will be many kids out there that feel called to defend their country but won't be able to do so because of their poor physical condition. Even worse are the kids who won't aspire to join the military because they are repeatedly told how awful, terrible, and worthless they are because they are overweight/obese.