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Military leaders: We're still too fat to fight
One in four young adults are too overweight to join the U.S. military, a group of retired military leaders says.
September 25th, 2012
09:02 AM ET

Military leaders: We're still too fat to fight

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."


soundoff (670 Responses)
  1. John

    And yet, the very skills needed to direct drones to their targets are the same skills those overweight youngsters acquire while sitting on their butts playing video games.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • michael

      HAHA John...nice one. So true

      September 25, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Right. Because everyone knows that the vast majority of our military's personnel are drone pilots.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • e

      i was a normal wight kid till i started school, i was one of those kids sitting in front of a computer\xbox\ps2 and i gained a ton of weight, now at 21 i went from 240 to 160 pounds and i still spend a vast amount of time on the computer (4-9hours a day, between work and sleep). education is the key, and it wasnt present in school, the nutrition information provided by the gov\schools is just useless facts -that are not in my opinion even true-. you can shove facts into kids all you want, if they dont know why its there or what to do with it its meaningless. now that i know more i go to the gym or similiar activities atleast 4 times a week for around 50minutes and eat less and better quality foods.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • John in DC

      That is completely wrong. Check out the article at gamepolitics.com and see an real drone pilot's response.

      There are human lives at stake when some pilots a drone and the controls for a drone are completely different. You need to be a certified pilot to command such a vehicle. Get your facts straight from the horses mouth and not from the voices in your head.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Baalzabarber

      not if those soldiers have to RUN to their post to operate the drones.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      John in DC...Thank you. All the drone pilots will thank you too. This is not a frivolous task. It certainly isn't like playing a game.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • NODAT1

      You are so right after all, everyone who joins the military is automatically a drone pilot, think before you type !!!!!

      September 25, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      I can't believe so many people don't recognize a joke.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • Soldier

      Wow, you're ignorant.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
    • Whoa whoa whoa

      Look John, NO FATTIES, THIS MEANS YOU! should be the new U.S. Army recruiting poster. No Fat Chicks tshirts? NO FATTIES. t-shirts period.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Yeah, because you can't get fat sitting around reading books, watching movies, listening to music, or posting ignorant generalizing statements on the internet. The average age of a video gamer is 37, so stop giving games a bad wrap and start focusing on the bad parenting and bad nutrition.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • BiggerThomas

      John (and Susan too)..First of all, our national security and the future of our society (kids' health) are not jokes. Second, drone pilots are actual real pilots that train on real planes. Third, you obviously have no respect for what people in the military do, how they prepare, or what they sacrifice in protecting you and the rest of us.

      Finally, I am increasingly disturbed by the flippant and disrespectful way in which many Americans approach their participation in society. That includes responding to articles in online posting boards, our politics, our neighbors, and every other aspect of community.

      Being sarcastic is not an admirable attribute generally. At some point we all need to realize that we need to take responsibility for our behavior. Respect something man. Everything is not fodder for jokes.

      September 25, 2012 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Hey John, stay in shape and you too can be out there, acting as a target for the nearest bullet. And I have a question for you. Are you stating that you're in shape, but too dumb to work a joy stick?

      September 25, 2012 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
  2. Bob Loblaw

    Doesn't help the soldiers when a complete MRE has more calories in one meal than you're supposed to eat for an entire day. Sure, you're supposed to be more active, but come on, on a FOB?

    September 25, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Semper Fit

      A typical MRE only has an average of ~1,250 calories, and (depending on MOS and duty station) most members of the military will have much higher caloric needs than the average citizen.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      You should actually add up the calories in an MRE, what you said is just not true. MRE's have 600 to 1000 calories depending which one. You can eat 3 a day if you're an active person

      September 25, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • ODA155

      hmmm... I wonder, have you ever tried being or supporting soldiers and Marines in active combat situations... those calories you mentions are nothing and most will burn them much faster than you would think.... I wonder how many calories are lost due to stress? "Sure, you're supposed to be more active, but come on, on a FOB?" as opposed to sitting at home taking petty shots at someone who is.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • Actually in the Army

      Bob, I'm curious to know how many years of your life have you spent in a combat zone? MRE's are designed to be high in calories because a soldier/marine..etc.. can consume well over 6,000 calories a day in a combat environment in order to meet the physical demands that are brought on them.

      The article isn't about people in the military being overweight, it's whole point is if we every REALLY need to draw from the citizens of this country to increase our military size (Just like we absolutely needed to do in WW2), many of these civilians will not be able to meet the demands of military service because of their health. In the service we are required to meet physical abilities and composition standards. If we don't (short of a medical reason+counselling and efforts to meet the standard) you're discharged.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • mlr

      my son was lucky on his last deployment if he and his men had ONE MRE to share between 3 guys for a couple days way out in the field...He lost more than 50 pounds each time he went over, and he was not overweight to begin with. MREs are not the problem they are talking about here anyway, this is about kids today that may go in the military later.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
    • Whoa whoa whoa

      Finally, people are getting what I have been saying all along. NO FATTIES NO FATTIES NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO FATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTIESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 25, 2012 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • FreedomFighter2003

      We were eating 3 MRE's a day trying to sustain our weight in Iraq when I was in and we all still ended up losing on average 30 pounds each. Even those of us that lifted and did extra exercise lost so much weight. And alot of us were not infantry but quartermaster or support MOS's.

      September 25, 2012 at 15:00 | Report abuse |
    • V.P.

      I thought that the article was stating that today's children are too fat to join the military. They didn't say that the soldiers, sailors and so forth are fat though some no dought may be, the article really isn't about current military members.

      September 25, 2012 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
  3. Doot doot

    Reminds me of the fat guy in Full Metal Jacket- He was nicknamed Gomer Pyle I think...

    September 25, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill the Cat

      Yeah, and he murdered the drill sargeant and then blew his brains out. All resulted from getting a blanket party because he was fat and couldn't make the obstacle course time.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Vincent D'onofrio played Leonard Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket. He gained 80 lbs to play the role. The sarge just called him Pyle.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      It wasn't just the blanket party. It was the sarge breaking him down

      September 25, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • Whoa whoa whoa

      as we can see by this example, NO FATTIES! can save lives

      September 25, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    EVERY serving military person should be proficent with basic infantry skills. Saw the headless chicken thing too many times. And physical fitness is a command and leadership issue. Bring back junior ROTC programs.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bill the Cat

      And keep PE standards through their senior year Where my kids go to school, they quit PE after 10th grade.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • JFCanton

      Certainly, if kids want to do it.

      Using PE as a solution is simplistic. I was in a group in high school that had an additional academic class in place of PE, so I never had PE at all-and only one kid in my year was overweight. Self-esteem is a big part of the problem too.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Physical Fitness is an individual responsibility. Although your phyicsality is scrutinized by your command/leaders, they aren't the ones doing the PT test, you are.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      JROTC was the only thing that got my son through high school. Right now he's just completed his first 4 weeks at Parris Island. Semper Fi!

      September 25, 2012 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
  5. Sunflower

    We didn't even HAVE vending machines at school when I was a kid.... And there was only one lunch. The hot lunch cooked in the kitchen or the salad bar... No such thing as a snack bar. It was either that, or you brought you lunch from home... and there were no obesity problems.... Diet and nutrition was also a required course. We are deluding ourselves if we think we have "improved" education over the years.... and not just the school lunches, but across the board.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • carlin123

      You can thank the lobbyists for the candy company's and the congressmen the own for the change.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • Cranky

      I graduated HS in 1971. At grade 7-8 in Texas and grades 11-12 in California, we had vending machines for sodas and snacks at school. (None in two other states in between those.) I became an adolescent sugar fiend, buying multiple sodas or packs of cookies every day. I came out of school weighing above 220, and that was fat and weakness, not muscle. That was principally my own problem, but on-campus vending machines arguably made their contribution toward making poor choices too easy. The result has been a life-long struggle with weight. I am now in normal range, but it has taken a very large amount of dedicated work to get there, and maintenance continues to be difficult. The fat cells, once acquired, stay with you, and are ready and eager to get fat again.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
  6. J

    Give me a break. Dependents and veterans aren't fight the war! How can you calculate that into the equation?

    September 25, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ArmyMom

      @J, They are included because the DOD coveres their medical care costs through the VA and Tri-care.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
  7. carlin123

    Terrorists won't bring down the country, the Twinkie will.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • corpsman

      "al cupcake" is more of a threat than al qaeda....

      September 25, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
  8. michael

    great, let's all lose weight so we can fight and die.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alan S

      Michael: Better to lose weight, fight, and possibly die, than be fat, unable to fight, and to spend the rest of our lives under Sharia law.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      I would rather have my kids at home and fat than fighting another lost cause in the mideast just so oil companies can make more record profits.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • Darth Mortis

      Sharia law? I thought the idea of Sharia law in the US was debunked two years ago when those studies came out that said that not only were American Moslems were overwhelmingly opposed to Sharia law, but there had been absolutely zero attempts to bring in Sharia law in any town, village, hamlet, city, state or protectorate of the US. Good Lord, you neo-cons hold on to bullcrap longer than a farmer's boots.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • michael

      Couldn't agree with you more 55. We're not fighting tyranny and for freedom any more and blah blah blah. I'm so sick and tired of hearing that overblown nonsense. There are too many problems with this world to be worrying about how we're going to train our kids to wield a gun to kill people.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
    • Actually in the Army

      Miguel, you will die if you're unhealthy. You don't see a lot of obese people over 60 years of age do you?

      September 25, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Alan S: Ooooh, Sharia law.....scarrrry.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      michael: it is easier to sell it if it is marketed as fighting tyrrany compared to it fighting for oil

      September 25, 2012 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • colinmb

      Seems its only your opinion that we aren't fighting tyranny or for peoples freedoms. As someone in the military I'd completely disagree with you. Having seen what we are doing rather than commenting from 8000 miles away, you have a much different perspective on things. Of course that would require your fat behind to get out from behind your computer desk and actually get involved in something worthwhile.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      fiftyfive55, Please tell your kids no, the next time they want to go somewhere.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      good for you, colin...you have an opinion too.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • Asdg

      Or, you could keep the weight on and die without doing any fighting.

      September 25, 2012 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
  9. jorge washinsen

    Elect Obama for another four years if you think we have a problem now.Fat started when the government decided it needed to take better care of it's voters.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jason

      That would explain why "socialist" Europe has such a weight problem right?

      September 25, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
    • Darth Mortis

      fat started with the bulls**it lipid hypothesis in the 1960s. Modern politics has nothing to do with increased obesity and the related health issues. It is the fault of the friggin' hippie vegetarians who tried to take meat completely out of the diet despite the basic human dietary requirement for it.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • WhatNow

      No, fat started when companies found new ways to make us crave sugar, fat and salt. They found profitable ways to make junk food convenient and easy to eat. We became fat because we stopped eating real food and decided that driving through and picking up crap was easier than fixing our own food. It's been great for business.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • cool breeze

      @ jorge: Yeah, obesity is Obama's fault. Moron.

      @ Darth: I'm having trouble following your logic and terribly incoherent statement. Are you blaming our rising obesity on a small segment of the population that decides for personal/health reasons to not forego eating meat? Most vegetarians I know are on the skinny side, and the ones who aren't are definitely healthier in terms of cardiovascular health than someone who eats animal protein all the time. You make it sound like they are forcing their agenda down your throat, when in REALITY it's a lifestyle decision, not a conspiracy theory. Any other morons want to spout off?

      September 25, 2012 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Yeah.....it's Obama's fault. Brilliant analysis

      September 25, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      darth: i am a long term vegetarian....and within the range classified as normal on the BMI calculators

      September 25, 2012 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • BiggerThomas

      It's in the so called food we eat. It is in the food supply. It is not so much about bad habits of people as opposed to the bad politics of the industrial food complex. The politics are about that and in fact President Obama, through the first lady and her focus on childhood obesity as well as the example of building a garden on the White House grounds, is making a statement to the benefit of us the people. If everyone began to grow at least some portion of their own food supply, fresh fruits and vegetables, then the diets would improve and the awareness would occur as to what is really going on. The questions you should ask yourself are...How is talking about and promoting improved childhood nutrition? Who is promoting freedom for the people from the corporate industrial food complex/industry? Who is supporting or not supporting government policies that improve FDA, EPA, and US Dept of Agriculture for the people?

      September 25, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Sorry bud, the fatness started when private industry created all those great tasting fast food goodies and advertised the heck out of them to kiddies because they could make a ton of money selling it to them (pun intended)

      September 25, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  10. jorge washinsen

    Choice is what it is about.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Whoa whoa whoa

      Wrong Jorge, NO ONE SHOULD HAVE THE CHOICE TO BE A FATTY!

      September 25, 2012 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
  11. BD

    Don't make me run, I'm full of chocolate!

    September 25, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Scottt01

    Seems like what ever the issue someone can tie their pet peeve into it.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. fiftyfive55

    Surprise-not all the kids want to joi n the army just so they can get blown up in the lost cause(mideast)

    September 25, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • txak

      55, the whole point here is that as a whole, our kids are too unhealthy even to meet the basic rigors of military service, and as a current Army officer, I can tell you that's already a pretty low bar. But I'm glad that you would be willing to sacrifice the general health of our nations children just so you can make a partisan political statement on how you feel about the war. I'm also glad that you have the freedom to denigrate the concept of civil service, and backhandedly insult all our current servicemembers by insinuating we somehow weren't smart enough to avoid service or were somehow duped into it. I'm glad you have that freedom, because it means that the men and women that came before me did their jobs securing it for you and because of them, your right to spew obtuse rhetoric like this has never been seriously threatened by a foreign power. And in case you're still feeling superior or self-righteous, let me remind you that we dont have a say in where we go or what wars we fight – nobody I've ever met *wants* to get blown up. But we go because it's our job, and if we dont go when we're called, who will? Obviously not you!

      September 25, 2012 at 14:34 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      @txak: Thank you for your spot-on insight, as well as your service. And before anone mumbles "Republican," I've been a Democrat since 1972.

      September 25, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "anyone" not "anone"

      September 25, 2012 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
  14. anna

    So the soldiers might be a bit overweight, but at least they still do their duty.

    What about the woman sent back from Canada because she just didnt want to carry on with the war in Iraq?
    She deserves to be court martialed, if she couldnt hack it she shouldnt have joined up in the first place.

    Thank goodness Canada sent her back, they dont want any army deserters there.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jack

    There are nothing but KFC, McDonalds, Taco Bell etc.. on every single major US military base in the world. Than you complain your members are fat? Love the irony.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NODAT1

      same as they complain the US is overweight but when they build a shopping center the first thing completed is a fast food joint

      September 25, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
  16. Cheese Wonton

    I showed up from civilian life at Aviation Officers Candidate School weighing only 165 lbs. I ran eight miles daily and ate two meals a day as a civilian, with very little meat. My how things changed during AOCS! Three hot meals a day, mostly comfort food, lots of calesthenics and marching but very little real running. I gained ten pounds where all of my other classmates lost weight.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Whoa whoa whoa

      The air force like the navy is full of FATTTIIIIIES

      September 25, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  17. g.r.r.

    Personally, I think that we should require all citizens that are between 18-24 to take basic training. Not necessarily, that they would serve in the military, but it would get them into shape.

    The other issue is that we DO need to bring back PE in schools. My son's grade school has the kids doing PE once a week. When I was growing up, it was daily.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JLS639

      That is, at best, a temporary fix. Put an exercise break into the work schedules of Americans, spaced out over the day to avoid overcrowding the facilities. Every fit person I have known at work for the past 10 years, without exception, takes time they should be working to exercise. I get a special rate (about 40% cover by my employer) on gym membership. I have to come into work by 8AM, rarely get to leave before 7:30PM and get a couple of 1 hour breaks and don't have access to shower facilities. I am forced to choose between exercise and things like dinner. (I have to work to make up for the people who work out instead of work)

      My 45 minute break is over and got appointments coming in. Back to work, unexercised.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • Cranky

      PE arguably is a good thing, but if it has not evolved past team sports and calisthenics, it is not doing a good job for the ones who need it most. I have had a life-long struggle with weight, and suffered relentless humiliating derision in 60's-70's PE classes and the showers. I dreaded PE every day.

      There was one exception: in my last year of HS, two new coaches (a couple who taught respectively in the M and F departments in the school) arrived, who very likely came out of good university PE programs, and not out of the boot camp / football coach world. My coach recognized that I was not able to participate usefully in the main program, lent me a stopwatch and gave me an RCAF 5BX exercise booklet. That and the individual consideration helped. A bit later in life, I pullled that same 5BX booklet off the shelf, and used it to begin putting myself into some better semblance of condition. I have fallen out of condition several times, but each time I go back in to exercise, I always remember that coach as having planted the essential seed. That is the mark of a true educator. Thank you to coach K.F. .

      September 25, 2012 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • John

      PE is minimized, or has disappeared altogether because our conservative voters have decided they don't want to pay for it. The attack on education is nationwide and until the short sighted folls doing the attacking realize the full stupidity of their approach, get ready for more fatties.

      September 25, 2012 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
  18. Jake

    Blame the 'merica-lovin southerner "patriots" who can only be bothered to get off their fat behinds when it's to get seconds.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jack 3

    I'm hungry!

    September 25, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. g.r.r.

    BTW, for those of you who think that this is a non-issue since it supposedly only relates to military service, think again. The fatter that our youth are, the more expensive our health care becomes.
    It is actually far cheaper to get everybody into shape, then it is to deal with the health issues of fat young ppl.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      "Winna, winna, chicken dinna!"
      Okay, maybe that wasn't the best expression to use...

      September 25, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • Jmacq1

      It's true that in the long run obesity costs more, but on the individual level, eating healthy is far more expensive than eating junk, and blame "laziness" all some people want, but (depending on your job) getting up early enough to squeeze in an hour or so of vigorous exercise, or even squeezing in that exercise after work is a colossal pain in the butt, or even impractical altogether, especially if you have kids to take care of.

      September 25, 2012 at 17:01 | Report abuse |
  21. golubchik

    The life is still good in good old USA

    September 25, 2012 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. NODAT1

    I work in a DOD facility and for the exception of a handful service members most that are working in our facility are fat, pudgy and out of shape. I spent 22 years in the Army and never seen soldiers that were this out of shape

    September 25, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. steve

    Guess we will have to fight less wars then. Maybe, just maybe, we can have some peace for a few years.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Tony

    Two things:

    First, as a military retiree, let me say the vast majority of people I ever knew that were overweight in the service were that way because of a personal choice to never exercise more than the minimum. Ever single base/facility I ever served at had every kind of intramural sport and base/local league imaginable. That is on top of every piece of gym equipment, trainers, and sport facility known to man. And that is on top of mandatory "PT".

    Except for the very few people that had a weight problem due a true medical condition (and those people usually get discharged) or pregnancy, virtually every other person was over weight by choice (the "food for freedom" program, yes it happens – some people don't like the military life and choose to become very overweight to get a discharge) or because they simply sat on the couch and drank beer and played video games.

    So, my point is, it comes down to personal responsibility, like so many things.

    And the second point, not far from the first, is that the diet kids get these days is not so much a problem as the fact that kids sit on their couch and play video games instead of going out to play. As a kid, I was probably eating 3000-3500 calories a day (anyone who was or has a teenage boy can appreciate the reality of that fact) and was not overweight a day in my life.

    Why? I played a sport each season and had a job.

    It makes no difference what you eat, if you are burning it all off. Heck, if anything, the food options are better today than when I was a kid, there was just as much fast food, soda/candy and all the rest around, and many fewer "healthy choices" or awareness of them. Bottled water, for instance, was not even largely available the way it is now.

    But there are a lot more now options to "not go out and play". And that is core of it: people choose to not be active so they can suffer the consequences of that.

    Again, comes down to personal responsibility.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BiggerThomas

      I agree that in school there needs to be a return to PE type programs. I also believe that school needs to be longer but that is a whole 'nother issue altogether.

      In this case of this issue however, it's in the so called food we eat. It is in the food supply. It is not so much about bad habits of people as opposed to the bad politics of the industrial food complex. The politics are about that and in fact President Obama, through the first lady and her focus on childhood obesity as well as the example of building a garden on the White House grounds, is making a statement to the benefit of us the people. If everyone began to grow at least some portion of their own food supply, fresh fruits and vegetables, then the diets would improve and the awareness would occur as to what is really going on. The questions you should ask yourself are...How is talking about and promoting improved childhood nutrition? Who is promoting freedom for the people from the corporate industrial food complex/industry? Who is supporting or not supporting government policies that improve FDA, EPA, and US Dept of Agriculture for the people?

      September 25, 2012 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
  25. Amniculi

    At least the Corps still has standards...

    September 25, 2012 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • txak

      The article just said "a group of retired military leaders." Didnt say anything about what branch of service they came from.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  26. Why Join Up?

    If the military is having issues recruiting they need to blame the politicians, yes both the Democrats and Republicans, who continually keep us in the Middle East with pointless conflicts, simply to line oil and defense industry company pockets. Why the hell would any youth want to join up for a guaranteed trip to the Middle East? This country spends far too much money on our armed forces; there is no reason for us to maintain a military presence in Europe or to maintain the size of our current force. Eisenhower warned of the military industrial complex, maybe it time we woke up and heed his warnings.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amniculi

      No joke. The American military budget is larger than that of the next 26 largest military budgets combined – and 25 of those are our allies.

      September 25, 2012 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • Zeu

      To politicians' eye, war mean business. Almost all of our oil came from Middle East and there is war so oil industry need our protection. By the protection, I don't mean they guarding the oil rather they try to resolve the crisis. Otherwise, the oil industry damaged then no oil for us and will drive American crazy with oil and gas price gone up.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • michael

      Correct me if I'm wrong but Ron Paul said there were 700 plus bases all over the world, and that he would close most of them had he been elected. Sigh....

      September 25, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
    • Amniculi

      Ron Paul is a moron. Gold standard? Really?

      September 25, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
    • txak

      The military isnt having a problem recruiting. We're actually turning away quite a few applicants. You can thank the current economy for that. Sure, the wars are expensive but I dont think the American auto industry crashed because of Iraq.

      And personally, I'm happy to go to war for oil. Securing strategically important resources and/or territories is the entire purpose a nation even has a military, its why wars have been fought since the dawn of time. Where we screwed up was we didnt straight up plunder Iraq after we conquered it. We opened it up to bidding and corporate expansion without any favoritism shown to American companies when we should have just raised the flag, sat on the oilfields and piped it all straight back home.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
  27. Zeu

    In military, obesity are harder to miss with bullet. Even rookie 10 years old boy hide a thousand feet away with sniper rifle can hit him.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. orionstyles

    Stop eating wheat...
    What was designed for rapid harvest and increased production is not good for you at all.
    Modern wheat spikes your blood sugars to dangerous levels. Then when your blood sugar crashes, you want to eat.
    Take a look at the side of any boxed food.. wheat. It's in everything.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amniculi

      It's not wheat, it's all the corn that is in everything. High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything it seems.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
    • BiggerThomas

      I agree wholeheartedly that it's in the so called food we eat. It is in the food supply. It is not so much about bad habits of people as opposed to the bad politics of the industrial food complex. The politics are about that and in fact President Obama, through the first lady and her focus on childhood obesity as well as the example of building a garden on the White House grounds, is making a statement to the benefit of us the people. If everyone began to grow at least some portion of their own food supply, fresh fruits and vegetables, then the diets would improve and the awareness would occur as to what is really going on. The questions you should ask yourself are...How is talking about and promoting improved childhood nutrition? Who is promoting freedom for the people from the corporate industrial food complex/industry? Who is supporting or not supporting government policies that improve FDA, EPA, and US Dept of Agriculture for the people?

      September 25, 2012 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  29. M.E.

    Are these guys leftovers from WW!!? Our power isn't in our tanks, everybody has tanks. Not everybody has drones and guided missiles that can blow the crap out of anywhere from a darkened room thousands of miles away. Does a drone pilot need to be able to do a gazillion push-ups? No. Does a drone pilot need to spend thousands of hours sitting on his butt perfecting his joystick skills? Hell yes he does.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. MC in TX

    Though I think social engineering can be a potentially dangerous thing, I do wonder if this is one case where a little social engineering might be a good thing. That is, perhaps there should be an adjustment in tax rates based on the BMI of a family's children. The reality is that, up through at least jr. high school, the parents have relatively tight control over their children's eating habits. Even if the parents themselves are not necessarily setting the best example, they can at least keep their kids' eating reasonably under control. Or to put it more bluntly, if your kid is fat you frankly just are not trying as a parent (barring medical conditions, etc.). Perhaps if the schools were required to assess the kids' weights and that information was fed back into the local tax system it would encourage the right behavior.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • michael

      MC the only valid point you made is when you said social engineering can be a dangerous thing. C'MON now. Think about it. If all overweight people live by excess consumption, then in reality, they're already paying more in the way of sales taxes!!!

      September 25, 2012 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Jmacq1

      I was lucky growing up, having a stay-at-home parent who could and would regularly prepare meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though occasionally lunch was replaced by school cafeteria lunches, but even then, school cafeterias generally kept the portions under control.

      Nowadays a lot of families have to have dual incomes just to get by, that really hurts a family's ability to easily moderate their food intake. Pragmatism and convenience often end up trumping Mom (or Dad) coming home from a hard day at work and then preparing a full meal. It becomes far easier to just pop something in the microwave or grab something on the way home. Its far from impossible to control your childrens' diets in these cases, but it's not always easy

      September 25, 2012 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
  31. Will

    Not enough dumb goy to sign up to fight for Israel. Oy, what a tragedy.

    September 25, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • michael

      PRICELESS!

      September 25, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
  32. PUTUSA2WORK

    the single biggest issue facing Americans in the battle of the bulge is – High Fructose Corn Syrup.... the introduction of it, replacing sugar is when the obeisty issue began and as more food products replace sugar with High Fructose Corn Syrup the more prevalant it has became. Think about it, you eat corn, you poop corn – the body cannot break it down. Toady, you can not buy gasoline without ethanol (corn) and leave that in a gas tank longer than 90 days or your carbureator will be gunked up... Corn by-products or derivatives are a bad scientific expriment forced on Americans. The government subsidies the farmer to grow corn and in turn has created industry to use the corn in other ways. Where has all the sugar cane crops gone? Not here... not in Hawaii... the need for sugar has drastically declined and replaced with High Fructose Corn Syrup.
    Advocate for sugar to be put back in the food products, stick to a balanced diet, and for your sake – excercise.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • michael

      HA! And now ironically, even cattle ranchers are feeding candy corn to their livestock because they can't afford their regular feed!!

      September 25, 2012 at 14:13 | Report abuse |
  33. michael

    Saw a bumper sticker once that read " I'm fat but you're ugly. I can diet."
    I think ugly people should pay more taxes.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Asdg

      Yes! Or at least pay double for health insurance.

      September 25, 2012 at 20:04 | Report abuse |
  34. HenryMiller

    "The act requires the USDA to update nutrition standards in schools."

    Unfortunately, the USDA is still promoting high-carb/low-fat diets which actually promote weight gain in a lot of people. Keep in mind that the USDA is the US Department of Agriculture, and part of their job is to promote the consumption of grains. They're not unbiased nutritionists.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Kevin

    I didn't think this would lead to any of that......

    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46312000/jpg/_46312327_img_3662.jpg

    September 25, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Tom

    Oh the HORROR! Who will the CHICKEN HAWK GOPers have left to fight there war's for them???

    September 25, 2012 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • txak

      Maybe they can draft the same people who taught your "there, their and they're," because they clearly shouldnt be doing that anymore.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
  37. 12a10

    What a non-problem. When I was in the Army over 40 years ago there were fatman platoons in BCT ... this solved the problem fairly quickly.

    The retired generals need to keep their nose out of the civilian world and try and solve the big problems that the military has ... drugs, lack of control by NCOs, sexual assault etc.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    A few days ago CNN ran an article "Fit for Battle" stating that both Romney and Ryan were marathoners and gym rats or something to that effect and that they were physically healthy and fit. I believe Romney's 5 sons are also fit. I say let them all enlist and go finish their Afghan war and bring our troops home.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Johnny Orlando

    We don't need to fight. Some of us could stand to lose some weight though.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Mike

    If military dining halls want to have healthier food for the military members, why does fruit and healty food cost dramatically more than chips and soda? It's cheaper to grab a burger and fries than liver and onions in the dining hall...

    September 25, 2012 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jmacq1

      Actually unless things have changed everything costs the same in the dining hall. If you're paying at all (as opposed to having a military-issued meal card), you pay one flat fee and then get to pick and choose what you want to eat.

      If you stick with the "meal of the day" you'll get a decently healthy meal in sensible portions. But most of the dining halls I saw while I was in the Army had plenty of "all you can eat" options (though usually that was the salad bar so it wasn't -too- bad), and always had a "short order" station where folks could get cheeseburgers and fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc... That, and soda fountains with unlimited refills.

      September 25, 2012 at 17:13 | Report abuse |
  41. theopelmiracle

    omg, classic crusty old army hags-"boys...put down the hot dog and pick up a hand gun!"

    September 25, 2012 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Keith Watling

    America could get back on track with our young adults by ensuring that our schools have at least 1 hour per day (everyday) for Physical Training. Our kids do not get enough exercise during the day and just by ensuring they eat healthy is not enough. Come on when I was in school we had it. So why are we re-inventing the wheel here. {Parents get your kids away from the video and PC games and get them outside and do some activities that will help them)

    SSG (Retired) US ARMY

    September 25, 2012 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. dontjoin

    don't waste your time joining the military...nothing but a bunch of stuck up ppl with some stripes who thinks the world revolves around them

    September 25, 2012 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • txak

      That's right. Don't join up, and then you can be like this guy – a spoiled, snot-nosed mamas boy who thinks he's too smart for the world and is angry at the real men for doing what he couldnt handle.

      September 25, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
  44. ?mark

    It's not the food, it's the posion being genetically engineered into the food that is the problem.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Rob

    Maybe if parents forced thier children to do something other than watch TV all day, we would not be so fat. I read a article that says the average person will watch almost 3000 hours of TV a year.. You wonder why you are so fat? Think about how much time you spend sitting on that fat *** of yours! Get off of the couch and do something you bums!

    September 25, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. some guy

    If only women start picking men for looks instead of money. And the military itself relies more on Rangers and Infantry versus Drones and air support. (Almost every skirmish in afghanistan, i see on you tube ends with a big boom from the air force jets or army helicopters. Support weapons should not become squad weapons. Im not saying id be any better but ww2 vets never had all this and still got the job done and Taliban have no air assets or artillery or large numbers of troops. )

    September 25, 2012 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. ron

    lol, um, Stop eating mcdonalds.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. ron

    lol, um, Stop eating mcdonalds ok?

    September 25, 2012 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. solrac503

    I hear a lot of people criticize people for being fat. I hear that. I've always stayed away from fast food, sugary snacks and soda's, and fortunately I am nice and healthy. But the cause goes deeper than "put the fork down" it's our society. All these corporations say that it's a choice, but when I drive down the suburban streets just outside my city the only choice I see is Wendy's vs McDonald's, Carl's Jr. vs Pizza Hut....YOUR OVER REACHING FREE MARKET MADE THEM FAT, and what will happen when all abled bodied men are called to fight and we're all diabetic and uneducated (another issue in our country that has declined by the greed of profits).

    September 25, 2012 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe knows

      Have some personal responsibility the free market dosent make people eat unhealthy foods. If people wanted to eat healthy the free market would actually remove unhealthy foods. This is how it works first there is a demand then a supply is developed. So the real question is why do all the things we like to eat make us sick. Can we make some healthy food that somone would actaully want to eat and do so in 5 minutes or less? Give me the freedom to make mistakes rather than forcing me to do what others find acceptable. I gota go now, my stomach hurts, darn taco tuesday!

      September 25, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  50. Will

    Isn't it funny how the same big, fat, obese GOPers from down south who are constantly trumpeting for ware are the same folks who are too fat to actually fight them? I mean it would be funny if it weren't poor people who join for a meager military paycheck who end up fighting and dying in them instead.

    September 25, 2012 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
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