Three retired generals met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid late yesterday, July 19, seeking help in legislation that will “help combat child obesity and improve America’s military readiness.”
Solve obesity before it damages security
Major General Drennan Anthony Clark (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), Major General James A. Kelley (U.S. Army, Ret.) and Brigadier General Lawrence E. Gillespie (U.S. Army, Ret.) are urging legislation that: will improve food available at schools, increase child nutrition programs and help develop school-based strategies to help families adopt healthier eating and exercise habits.
According to Brigadier General Gillespie, “The nation’s waistline is bulging, and the pool of healthy and qualified recruits is shrinking. We need to pass this child nutrition bill in order to get out in front of this problem before it further damages our nation’s security.”
Too fat to fight
More than 9 million young adults – 27 percent of all Americans age 17 to 24 – are too overweight to join the military, according to the report Too Fat to Fight by MISSION: READINESS, a non-profit group of more than 150 retired admirals, generals and other military leaders.
Here in Silicon Valley, a number of programs work to fight childhood obesity, one of the most interesting is the Silicon Valley HealthCorps that is a coalition of The Health Trust, AmeriCorps and ten local organizations. The Santa Clara County Office of Education has also initiated Fit for Learning, to deal precisely with the issues raised by the generals.
According to Mission:Readiness, up to 40 percent of children’s daily calorie intake occurs at school and 80 percent of children who were overweight between the ages of 10 to 15 were obese by age 25. Improving school nutrition is therefore a crucial area for reducing or preventing child obesity, the retired generals said.
Major General Kelley added, “National security is a top priority for Senator Reid, and retired generals and admirals will strongly support his decision if he is able to schedule time for the Senate to vote on the child nutrition bill.”
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