A group of nonpartisan retired military leaders fret that America's youngsters will be physically too out of shape to serve their country because they're eating too much junk food, CNBC reported.
The military leaders say that with an all-volunteer army and not that many Americans interested in joining the service there is a limited pool of recruits and that of these most are not qualified because of educational or physical deficiencies.
Retired Maj. Gen. D. Allen Youngman says getting youngsters in better shape is a national security priority not just a problem for educators or nutritionists. Three-fourths of 17- to 24-year-olds today are not eligible to join the army because they cannot meet its basic requirements. The officers say that if they can get Americans healthier and smarter when they are younger the country will have a better pool of soldiers in the future, CNBC reported.
Youngman is part of Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit organization of military officers campaigning against junk food in schools, for nutritious school lunches, and for expanding pre-K education, CNBC reported. The group operates under the auspices of the Council for a Strong America.
The retired officers argue that society needs to head off poor educational achievement, criminal behavior, and obesity beginning at the pre-kindergarten stage.
The group is lobbying for the School Food Modernization Act, introduced in the Senate by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. The bill would help schools upgrade kitchen facilities and educate personnel on preparing healthy foods for children.
"As the daughter of a school cook, I understand the work that goes into preparing many healthy meals each day for kids, and this bill would help make limited resources stretch as far as possible to provide support to communities that need it in North Dakota and throughout the U.S., said Heitkamp.
Analysts say the bill has little chance of passage.
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