America's expanding waistlines might pose a threat to national security, the Pentagon says.
More than a quarter of Americans ages 17-24 are too overweight to serve, depleting the eligible pool of potential soldiers. The number of men deemed ineligible to serve based on weight has doubled in the last 50 years; among women, the number has tripled.
Those currently serving aren't immune to weight issues, with 1 in 20 members of the armed service suffering from weight problems, up from 1 in 50 just seven years ago. Weight issues can lead to multiple health issues that can literally leave servicemen and women unfit for battle.
"It's not just a major health issue for our nation; it's also become a national security issue," retired Rear Adm. James Barnett said.
Besides shrinking the number of qualified candidates for military service, weight issues are requiring the Pentagon to spend more than $1 billion a year on medical care related to weight and obesity--a steep price tag as the government faces a mounting national debt.
In February, first lady Michelle Obama teamed up with the military to promote sweeping changes being made the nutrition standards for troops, as well as what military dining facilities serve.
Nutrition education will also become part of basic training for the Army.
KKTV firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKTV 11 News.
If you believe that any of the comments on our site are inappropriate or offensive, please tell us by clicking “Report Abuse” and answering the questions that follow. We will review any reported comments promptly.powered by Disqus
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.