April 21st, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Three-fourths of youth unfit for military service

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the U.S. fighting two wars and threats like a potentially nuclear-armed Iran on the horizon, there is a very scary truth that needs to be addressed.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.cafeteria.jpg caption=""]

Three-fourths of the young people between the ages of 17 and 24 are unfit for military service. It's a national disgrace.

There are a number of reasons for a lack of a sufficient pool of recruits for the military to draw from. These include factors like having a criminal record, not graduating from high school, or having health problems.

But the biggest reason is that a boatload of young people in this country are fat. In a report titled "Too Fat to Fight," a group of 130 retired military leaders says the top medical reason is young people are simply too heavy - and can't handle the physical requirements of being in the military.

One fourth of young Americans are just too fat to fight.

The report blames unhealthy food in school lunchrooms; and they're calling on Congress to pass a wide-ranging nutrition bill that would make school meals healthier. But the problem extends far beyond the school lunchroom.

We have become a sedentary society that doesn't exercise enough, spends way too much time in front of the TV or computer and exists on a diet of fast food and/or junk food. The price tag for that is sacrificing the future of the U.S. military.

The authors of this troubling report say all branches of the military now meet or exceed their recruitment requirements… but if these obesity trends don't change, they could wind up threatening our national security by the year 2030. That's less than 20 years away.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about our country if three-fourths of our youth are unfit for military service?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Mark in Oklahoma writes:
You should see the HUGE 12 and 13-year-olds at the middle school I teach at. All they want to do is cuss, eat, slap each other's butts and be disrespectful. What a helluva generation we're raising because some idiot decided "discipline" was not needed in schools. Well, guess what? Kids have no discipline when it comes to sex, food, ethics or anything else. Thanks a lot Dr. Spock.

S. writes:
As an Army Recruiter, I can tell you first-hand that this is the truth. Between the physical issues (overweight, asthma etc), education issues (lack of high school degree, inability to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam) and moral issues (criminal charges, drug use, etc.), we have a tough time finding qualified applicants. We are in trouble!

Stoo writes:
Quite simply, we need mandatory service for all citizens like any country under the constant threat of their adversaries. Our nation and society can't afford the liberty of inactivity.

Sgt Dave writes:
That's all right. The drill sergeants have got something to fix that. They are very happy to give the chubbiest ones some "extra help."

Gary writes:
My experience in the military was that the rigorous physical training of Basic turned a kid (not unlike kids today) into a pretty fit fighting machine. And I had a lot of pride and respect for myself at what I had accomplished in a short time.

Don in Las Vegas writes:
I would have preferred for Pres. Obama to stop the wars himself, but this is ok too. Nature works in mysterious ways.

Michael in Washington writes:
Maybe if the military establishment would invent a weapon or devise a means of combat that included text messaging or tweeting, we'd have absolutely nothing to worry about. Or a better solution might be to encourage American fast food chains to open locations all over the world. Eventually every nation's potential soldiers would be unfit.

Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar • U.S. Army • US Military • US Obesity
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. Terrence Cain

    It means we've gotten way too lazy and unhealthy.

    Terrence Cain
    Big Spring, TX.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  2. Tony from Southport

    I guess the current American young person is not up to the standards of the greatest generation. Thank you, thank you very much.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  3. Loren

    Who says? And for that matter, how different is that from prior periods? If you bother to look, you will find out that only a small percentage of military actually see combat, something one in ten, the rest all perform support functions. There is a vast difference between fit for military services and fit for combat and whoever is giving you information has forgotten that distinction.

    April 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  4. Hugo Kijne

    It means that three-fourths of our youth would rather die from a Big Mac than from a roadside bomb.

    Hoboken, NJ

    April 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  5. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Are you really surprised? i have watched two teenagers on the same couch texting eachother back and forth. If they are too fat and/or lazy to open their mouths and use their vocalcords to communicate and use their neck muscles to turn their head to look at the person next to them while simultaneously talking, I hardly would have thought they would be fit to take a hill and be in charge of another's life.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  6. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    We are fat and ripe for the picking. Our lives have gotten so easy with the help of easy credit that we have become fat, lazy and stupid – the perfect combination for a conquest – ours!

    April 21, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  7. AlphaPoe1

    The military will get them in shape fast! Reel them in.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Matt from Santa Monica

    It says that the baby boomers succeeded in breeding a generation of chubby, suggestable consumers who feed off reality television and fast food. Shocking.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  9. Jane (Minnesota)

    How lazy our Society has become.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  10. jerry cameron nc

    let's face it jack, we live in good ooooold fat america. where the fast food is cheap as hell. we have the technology so we don't even have to leave the couch. two things are going to happen here, one an increase of more junk food taxing. which does not solve anything, but putting more money in the capitalist pocket's, but what does this do you ask? It makes it harder on lower classes to afford food. number two, the military well have to accept more heavier individual's.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  11. marja hartzell-oforji

    Why should they be fit for military service, isn`t everything else in life more important than that? They don`t get anything else from the military service in Iraq and in Afghanistan, than different damages mentally or in their body. If they are obese, it`s totally their parents` fault . If they have taught their children to eat healthy, they maybe also have taught them to comfort themselves with food.
    I`m writing from Stockholm, Sweden

    April 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  12. Lisa, San Jose CA

    If three-fourths of our children are unfit for military service, the uncomfortable truth is we are a society of bad parents.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  13. Dalton Murphy

    I recently joined the army national guard and to tell you the truth is really not that hard. I feel that it shows that the U.S. is becoming a lazy country and obesity is beginning to over populate us.

    April 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    By eating ones favorite junk foods they will not be able to join the military for the next concocted war a politician dreams up. Obesity may be the cure for unnecessary wars.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    So......what's new?

    Modern life has people sitting in front of computers or TV, most of the time. Once in a while, they might go to a movie.

    They eat out, in restaurants with unhealthy menus, several times a week.

    What do you expect?

    April 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  16. Gary H. Boyd

    It's a reflection of the general deterioration that's been taking place in America for the past several decades. A failing educational system, failing family values, failing physical conditioning and the list goes on. I say bring back the draft. That'll shape these little creeps up.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    April 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  17. MNResident

    It means the other one-fourth is supporting the others, which is typical for the uniteds States of America these days. However, the three-fourths will still complain that the other fourth is "not doing their fair share".

    April 21, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  18. pat in michigan

    It says reinstitute the draft. I went in at 265 lbs. at 20 .I came out eleven weeks later at 180lbs.It was the best thing that ever happened to me.I found out a lot about myself and what I was capable of .
    Fast Food is killing our kids faster than war.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  19. Jack in Virginia

    It says we'd better start sending doughnuts to China.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  20. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Nearly every President since JFK has had a physical fitness agenda for youth. None of them have worked but that hasn't stopped America from going to war. When the U.S. puts boots on Iranian soil it will no doubt be with conscripted American youth who will be in top physical condition once the military gets them in their chow lines and on their basic training obstacle courses.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  21. Nancy in Michigan

    Jack, I am a dietitian and this does not supprise me at all. Most people in this country have no idea how to eat for their health so how can they teach their children? Then we wonder why health costs are rising? The subsidies (corporate welfare) wheat, corn, and soy farmers get from the tax payers make processed foods cheaper than whole foods. Then the government creates a food pyramid, with the help of the dairy and beef industry, who also receive subsidies, to tell Americans what to eat. We have a combination of no personal, corporate, or government responsibility.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  22. Vett South Carolina

    It says we need to put down the cheeseburgers, soda and beer, get off the couch and turn off the TV, computers, and video games. Americans are lazy because our entire lives revolve around the new media-laptop, smartphones, HDTV, Wii, Playstation 360, IPOD, facebook.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  23. Harold, in ANCHORAGE, AK

    Not to worry. Back in the Viet Nam war, thousands of unfit youngsters were drafted and made fit.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  24. Pete - Georgia

    It says that "Mall Cruising" has won..................Civic Pride, Education and Maturity have become the loser.
    Sad and pathetic.

    April 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  25. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    Americans have become lazy. Too many fast food meals, video games, tv and no physical activity.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  26. Tom in Abilene Tx.

    It says our country (military,police,fire ,EMT, etc.) will eventually have to relax the rules and deem our youth are "fit" although they are clearly not. It is not the fault of those in charge of recruitment. How else do we plan to fill these positions in the land of Burger King and Taco Bell?

    April 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  27. Joe CE

    We cetaubly need to do somewthing to improve the fitness of youth, just as we need to do something to improve the fitness of 75% of the political canidates..

    April 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  28. Dan-Eustis,Florida

    It means our Education system stinks, It means Parents are to permissive, It means as a society we accept mediocrity and poor
    behavior. Our young people are a mirror image of their role models. If we are unhappy with them then we can only blame ourselves.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  29. CraigC

    It tells me that the liberal push to make everyone equal is working. We're all getting fat! Put volleyball back on the playgrounds and quit coddling everyone!

    April 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  30. Greg M.

    Part of the problem is the video game era they live in.I am 44 and when i was a kid I used to go out and play,before and after dinner,no matter what season,in upstate NY(snow belt).Now the kids don't even have to leave the house to harass someone.I am sure they would be good with a rifle or a tank because of these games,but you can't just push a button to run faster in the real world.You ACTUALLY have to do it.
    Greg M. Largo,FL

    April 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  31. Chryssa

    It says to me that boot camp needs to start in kindergarten – at least the physical aspect of it.

    Boise, ID

    April 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  32. Evian in Austin

    Our poor eat fast food and get fat.. and then the poor "choose" to go into the military. Hopefully they get in shape and some real world training while in the military.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  33. andy

    it says to me we should go back to the old ways when you and i were growing up no tv no vidieo games no cumputers. go outside and play.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  34. jenny

    Instead of burning their draft cards they are eating them?
    Make Big Macs not war?
    Hell no we won't go until after lunch?
    All you need are fires man. All you need are fires?
    All they are saying is give pizza a chance.

    How bout they have spent far too much time playing war on game systems and not enoughtime playing outside?

    April 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  35. Donna in Tulsa Okla.

    Regretfully, it says we will eventually be forced to relax some of these requirements.It is certainly not the military's fault.They cannot take on the Burger King nation and expect to win that particular fight.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  36. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Just another example of fast food and parents not paying any attention to what their children are eating. All you have to do is go to the mall and watch the young people stuffing down all the fattening foods. No exercise and watching TV, playing computer games and sending messages on their phones. Doesn't children have to work anymore.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  37. chris

    let me guess they will blame soda industry and mcdonalds for this one while parents did not raise their kids healthy while letting them do no exersice cause it would of helped them in their teen years and young adult catagory if they would of made better choices in life and mcdonalds and the soda industry is not at fault

    April 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  38. Jill

    They've been supersized.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  39. Linda in Charleston, SC

    It say that we need to hire Jamie Oliver for the rest of the country and have a food revolution. My kid is still eating processed foods in school, along with the sugar milk. Manufactures that put together these foods need to change their ways. No we don't need extra taxes on anything that contains sugar, it's all about education of the masses and moderation. But it does say that the military has it's work cut out for them to get these young people in shape. Considering the government helps create the problem in the schools, then they will just have to pay more to get their recruits in shape.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
  40. Moe Dallas TX

    If basic training is close to what it used to be I'm sure the Drill Sargent's can get the 220lb couch potatoes to 180lb men..

    April 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
  41. Riley ODay

    Fat soliders are not fat for long. put them in the service they go on
    " the fat man program " it takes it off.

    of course they ride every where in armored vehicles and KBR brought
    fast food to a combat zone.

    fat soliders will still fight.

    Riley ODay charleston wv

    April 21, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  42. Sue From Idaho

    Our youngsters are being raised in fast food restaurants. The schools have fed them like they were being raised for slaughter and lots of homes serve little or no fruits and healthy vegetables. Add to that the dilemma that they get a scant amount of exercise equates to disaster in fitness for many. Bring back hopscotch, tether ball and roller skates, we had it made as kids.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  43. Larraine, Abingdon, MD

    As someone who spent most of my adult life being obese as well as being an overweight kid, I have a lot of sympathy for these kids. It took weight loss surgery for me to get my own weight under control. I'm still a work in progress. We've become such a food-centric society. Kids are bombarded by food ads on the television shows they watch. Their parents are often struggling with limited budgets and limited time and a serious lack of nutritional understanding. It's so easy to say yes to children whenever they want a snack. It's easy to let kids veg out in front of the television or computer. The schools are a part of the problem also. High fat lunches and no more recess makes for a combination that is lethal.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  44. Rick Medina,OH


    This is tragic, but somewhat expected. So many families with kids are two-earner households, and fewer people really cook anymore. Instead, they are highly reliant on packaged foods. At the check-out counter, we witness food stamps being used on unhealthy crap. School lunches are laden with even more of it. Too many kids have the cash to hang-out at fast-food joints and devour even more high-fat non-nutritious 'stuff.' And every day, the portions at restaurants get bigger and bigger. We reap what we sow, and the health of our kids is a consequence of our culture.


    April 21, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  45. John from Alabama

    Jack: We are living in a world where no physical education is allowed, because no one wants to pay Physical Education teachers, or art and music teachers. Children are not given physical fitness, because of every excuse from my dog bite me in the leg to I am just blame lazy. Health, good food choices, and exercise have been divorced from school and after school activities, and replaced with a video game or the computer. I am 60 years of age and I walk 3 miles everyday.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  46. B.J., Quincy,Ill.

    It tells us that we need to hav recess back into the school and/or have PE a requirement, like it use to be, dodge ball and all.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  47. MikeK

    It says the Country is in bad shape and it's time for radical action - such as accelerated conscription into six months of boot camp.

    Boot camp - not basic training.

    Mike The Communist
    Central NJ

    April 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  48. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, no one should be the least bit surprised by this observation. Continuing cuts in school physical education programs in favor of "unschooling" and some of these other idiot programs, can only result in our children becoming more and more unable to move on their own. Soon there will only be 2 kinds of kids, those that wish to compete in athletics, and the others, who sit, talk on the cell, text/sext, play video games, watch TV, and EAT. The military doesn't need to worry though, because they are pursueing the goal of unmanned warfare anyway, and in 20 years all they'll need are the armchair warriors, with quick thumbs, and video gaming skills.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  49. Stephen

    Sounds like mandatory military or civilian service would help get these kids in shape. They would just have to start Basic Training early to get them in shape enough to for Basic...Early Bird Fatbody PT.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
  50. Angie

    I remember when joing the military meant you under went strenuous exercises and lost weight, and became fit. I remember when fast food did not make it's way into our military.
    I remember when fast food was none existant in our school lunches. I remember when Physical fitness and exercise was the major big part of our Gym class which every student had to participate in for a grade.
    I remember when vegtables were an important part of the food group. I remember when you only ate bread in a sandwich, not with every meal.
    I remember when we did not drink soda every day, but maybe just once a week. I remember when water, juice, milk and ice tea were the choices.
    But then that was during a time when they did NOT put Growth Hormones into our beef. That was back before they put Steroids, Hormones and antibiotics into our chickens. And that was before they decided to change the DNA of fruits and vegetables to make them bigger and fatter.
    SO, When we consume those products, what happens to those additives in our bodies? Where do you think they go? Could it just be that those additives are changing our bodies into uncontrollable weight gain. And what about the antibiotics, could that fat virus be a result of eating the antibiotics in our chicken and eggs?

    Just wondering.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  51. Mark, Oklahoma City

    You should see the HUGE 12 and 13 years old at the middle school I teach at. All they want to do if cuss, eat, slap each other's butts and be disrespectful. What a helluva generation we're raising because some idiot decided "discipline" was not needed in schools. Well, guess what? Kids have no discipline when it comes to sex, food, ethics or anything else. Thanks a lot Dr. Spock.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  52. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    It doesn't say as much as some would think. Never have people been suited for the rigors and stress of war. Even the most well trained become burned out, or suffer from PTSD. I wouldn't expect everybody to be fit to be a police man or fireman either. It's hard work.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  53. Charles of Eugene

    Well, now, it does appear that the Pentagon will list High-Fructose Corn Syrup, a common food additive scientifically linked to obesity,
    as a National Security THREAT. Of course, eating Cheetos while playing video games causes obesity. No way can we blame teachers for the widepread abdication of parental responsibility sea to shining sea. I hope the Pentagon gets behind a Nation-wide Push for Healthy Nutrition. First Lady Michelle Obama is doing great work on this issue!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  54. Don (Ottawa)

    It says put them in military service and let the drill sargents show them what it means to be unfit.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  55. JENNA

    What does it say about our country if three-fourths of our youth are unfit for military service?

    It says that parents aren't making enough money to provide good food for their children and work so many hours that they can't watch their children play outside.

    So basically our kids are eating crap while sitting on their fannies.

    Roseville CA

    April 21, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  56. Dennis North Carolina

    It means that we need to shut down the tv, games and computers each day so that children will play and then feed them health food.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  57. Jim in Alabama

    My God Jack, I'm not surprised. All you have to do is go out, sit on a park bench or go to Wal-Mart and about 80% of the people you see are morbidly obese. The shocking part of this is t he fact that the majority of these are children. They lay around and play video games, get little or no exercise, eat junk food, and ride everywhere they go. They have no idea what real work is and could care less. THis nation has become a nation of lazy slobs and the younger ones will die before their parents. Sad.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  58. Lori - PA


    That we need to change our habits. Me included.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  59. ronvan

    Just another sign of the times. While we sit at our computers, text on our phones, ipods, Etc., for hours upon hours why are we surprised?
    Lets not forget that the military, except possibly for the Corps, has made so many changes in their "training?" as to be less than what it needs to be!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  60. Steve, Clifton, VA

    It say that we have gotten away from things that made this country great like recess time at elementary schools and gym class in high schools. It mean that we have lost our strategic thinking and planning in terms of physical exercise and good citizenship with classes in citizenship and government or prayer in schools. It mean that this country has lost sight of the view on the true compass

    April 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  61. PA-Pilot

    Money for school lunch is not a problem. A healthy school diet would actually be CHEAPER that the reconstituted garbage they serve now. But, Kraft and other massive food mega-corporations make millions of dollars peddling their processed junk at inflated "government contract prices."

    It would also require staff actually cook food, which means more work, and the mega-unions are always against more work.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  62. larry simpson

    It says we are in a heap of trouble. add to all the items mentioned above, drugs and medication. Not only is our military in trouble but also law enforcement,and the work force in a few years. You can't blame it on schools this time! It's the parents fault for raising lazy children.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  63. Ed from MD

    Hey man, Santa Claus is fat and look at all he does. Besides, In 20 years all our wars will be fought behind computers using predator drones and raptors. Then you'll be saying these cursed non-sedimentary skinny people aren't fit for service..they can't sit at a keyboard long enough. That's coming from a thin person.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  64. David Gerstenfeld

    Draft the unfit. Maybe boot camp & military disipline can do what their parent(s) can't or won't do. Today's unfit youth will eventually become unfit adults with unfit skills having more unfit children. They'll never be able to learn chinese.

    David, las Vegas

    April 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  65. ugh

    So, they're finally calling for healthier foods not because it's the right thing to do or because it's better for everyone...but because they're afraid they won't have enough kids to send off to war.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  66. Jason

    Not as much as you'd think Jack. Like many things in society, the burden is just shifting from individual responsibility to the government. And like it or not, the military will adjust to get the numbers it needs; if it means changing training to account for less fit people coming it, the military will do it. There isn't an option to not having a right number of people in uniform. The services already give waivers for criminal records and the like; a few extra pounds on a willing enlistee isn't that much different.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  67. depressed future

    This is our nations future. The fall of the Roman Empire!

    April 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  68. SGT Dave

    That's alright. The drill sergeants have got something to fix that. They are very happy to give the chubbiest ones some "extra help". 🙂

    April 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  69. liz

    Look at the adults of service age, they aren't much better. This isn't just a recruitment problem. The military is constantly having to deal with physically unfit and/or overweight serivice members.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  70. stoo martin

    Quite simply, we need mandatory service for all citizens like any country under the constant threat of their adversaries. Our nation and society can't afford the liberty of inactivity.

    April 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  71. Alex in Gig Harbor

    It doesn't matter, Jack. Less than one percent of the population is in the active and reserve military. There will always be enough jocks ready to enlist.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  72. Samuel Waltzer

    This announcement should serve as a wake-up call to government leaders at every level and is a national disgrace. There is plenty of blame to go around, starting with government officials who allow sodas and french fries in schools. But the ultimate responsibility for this disgrace rests with parents who themselves are obese and display terrible lifestyle habits to their children. Obesity looks and feels disgusting, and now it appears to be harming our national defense. Wake up America, get off the couch, put down the soda and fries, and start exercising.

    Samuel Waltzer
    Cherry Hill, NJ

    April 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  73. John Lucas

    Although I see the trends mentioned in the study as troubling for America in general, what the study says to me is we have the luxury to keep our standards higher. Anytime they need people the first thing to go is the High School Diploma requirement. I saw this several times over the 10 years I spent in the service.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  74. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    Time to change America's diet and the social mores that allow it to be OK to be obese.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  75. Charlie in Liverpool NY

    Jack the biggest problem is we as parents no longer allow our children to play outside. The main reason for this is because you can no longer trust it is going to be safe for the children to play outside. Doesn’t matter if you live in the inner city or the suburban areas or in the rural country, we have bad people who hurt children, so we keep them inside behind locked doors for their safety.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  76. Sue from Redwood City

    It says parents aren't being parents and most of them are overweight too! These dead beat parents need to pull the one hand out of the chip bag, get the other one off the remote and put the children first. Both parents working is not an excuse for not parenting. If that is their excuse for unhealthy children it means is that they are unfit parents and shouldn't have had children in the first place.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  77. Glen

    It says we are witnessing the "fall of Rome." The funny thing is the GOP spin will call any bill to combat this problem "big brother" or a "nanny state" which I guess we need if 3/4 of the youth are too irresponsible to take care of themselves.

    Then again on the bright side we will have a outstanding predator drone team with all the video game training they are getting.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  78. Linwood H. Scott

    Parents should limit tv/computer time and MAKE their kids go outside to play, i.e. baseball, basketball, dodgeball, soccer,etc. THEN, they should get ALL sweets out of the house and replace them with apples, grapes, oranges, etc. As a former soldier, I can assure you "fat" youngsters won't make it through basis training. If a kid is going to enlist, he'd better start running, doing sit-ups and weight-lifting; fat and out-of-shape won't cut it!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  79. Gigi Oregon

    It tells me that their parents aren't fit to make a wise decision either at the voting polls. For the same reason they sit and read or listen to the Internet propaganda that go through their brain and believe it for fact. Sad isn't it. They have the tools for research but would rather pass on trash as fact.

    I realize that since everything has a price tag on it families cannot afford the luxury of belonging to a gym or paying for after school sports, that we had as children for free. And the portion size is unbelievable.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  80. Alex in Gig Harbor, WA

    No worries, Jack! We will win the next war with drones flown by fat kids who spent their lives behind a computer screen. How many push-ups must they do to wiggle a joy-stick?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  81. Annie

    From Colorado Springs

    It means that the culture we grew up in fostered an environment that allowed younger generations to grow up sedentary. Parents, make your kids go outside and play, take away the video games, or just dont buy them in the first place. Sign kids up for sports sponsored by the schools, give them chores, something. Put your foot down and don't allow them to be inactive.

    In twenty years, we can change the trend. We have time. But not if we don't do anything differently. If the military's situation for recruitment becomes that dire, we will have to change the physcial standards to enter service. And that could cost lives.

    That we are so obese says that we have too many Americans who want the fast way, so they get unhealthy but quick meals. It means we are lazy and time constrained. These two combined lead us down the road to obesity.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  82. Kyle

    From Rome, New York

    It means parents need to get to work. These 17-24 year olds were someone's kids, and apparently they weren't taught the importance of healthy habits.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  83. Josh P


    This issue is due to multiple issues: poor nutrition in schools, poor recreation habits at home, etc. Parents cry about having no time to spend with their children, or too much technology entertaining their children. How about parents be PARENTS, cut the cord, and play outside!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  84. Andrew


    It only says that you cannot legislate parenting. Parents need to take some responsibility for the health of their children. I am so tired of everyone blaming everyone else for everything. Nothing is ever your own fault anymore.


    April 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  85. Gary

    Our Country is Unfit for Service because our Government set the Standard. Capitalism has shown it's weakness, the Rich make War to extend their Portfilios, and the Poor Fight it. What an Affront.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  86. Cap'nMatt

    Not surprising. Hopefully the lastest reductions in forces and increase in weapons capability makes up for this growning trend. If not, we can create a new brach of service: the Chair Force!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  87. Mal

    Not only is 3/4 of our youth too fat, have you seen their parents? Jack, when was the last time you went to Wal-Mart? It is a national disgrace.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  88. kelbin

    its a disgrace that more than half our youth is fat while were almost in the break of war.all these kids do is play video games watch t.v and chat all day...if they have military backgound i wound put the blame on the parents for not keeping their kids in shape knowing not only their doing their kids a great harm their doing the country a great harm.
    do u see iranian or european kids over weight or just disgusting fat no ...ONLY IN AMERICA.
    Brooklyn,New York

    April 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  89. Jim


    In these days of all-volunteer forces, the military needs to get the message out to potential recruits: if you want to join up, you have to meet these minimum requirements... They should be on the air and in the high schools talking with the kids and letting them know what it will take to get accepted. That way, many interested young men and women will still have a few years to shape up. As for the government, they can't mandate healthy habits but they can encourage them through ad campaigns, etc.

    Reno, Nevada

    April 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  90. John Bell

    You mentioned 25% obesity; what is the rest of the breakdown?

    I have also heard from recruiters that 75% of youths are unavailable because the top 50% of the income distribution have other choices, and the bottom 25% of incomes are dropouts/criminals/physically unfit.

    It may be that we should scale back our military commitments to what a nation of rich people will sustain, since very few enlisted personnel can make it into the middle class (in contrast to GI Bill scholars and union workers in the days of yore).

    April 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  91. Alaine

    Do we really need to regulate school meals. The problem isn't about the school lunches. The problem stems from lack of parental guidance and eating responsibly. Kids eat what is put in front of them, and 2 out of 3 meals are at home! Let's just ban all junk food, no soda, no pizza, and no candy. Come on America, why aren't parents being parents and taking care of thier children? Does the government really have to be parents too!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  92. Alan Young

    There's more to it than food – there's the food we eat, the sheer volume of individual portions, and the complete and utter lack of exercise. We teach "wellness" in our schools, and then the kids walk outside and are immediately driven door-to-door. Yes, we have spent time in Europe, and the "car-culture" and "huge portions" are two of the major differences. Despite Subway's appeal, KFC obviously feels people need a cheese-and bacon melt sandwiched in between deep fried chicken. In addition, public transportation not only saves gas and is "green", it means you walk yourself back and forth from the tram stop or the train station, rather than walking 6 feet to your car and driving. Yes, there are fat people in Europe, but the instance of morbid obesity is significantly lower.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  93. Heather F

    I am a high school teacher. These kids are lazy, apathetic, and believe that the world revolves around them. Before blaming the schools, why don't you consider the cost of eating healthy. Our budgets are stripped to the bones and are only getting worse. And by the way, these kids came to school fat and lazy, which was done way before I met them.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  94. Jgross

    There are 365 days a year and assuming kids eat three meals a day that is 1095 meals per year. The kids are in school on average of about 175 day a year. Assuming they eat one meal a day at the school, that means they are eating 920 meals a year at home or elsewhere. If the kids are getting fat, it is highly unlikely that they're getting fat because of the school meals. Rarely, have we seen fat kids leave school at the end of the school year and return skinny in the fall when the parents have had them at home all summer.

    Bismarck, North Dakota

    April 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  95. Tony

    Any effort to curtail American obesity will only be viewed by the right as an Obama commie plot to control us all and force upon us some measure of good health. Let people choose their own poison; fat, alcohol, tobacco, guns, drugs or whatever else gets them to the grave the fastest. I sat here at work this morning and endured an hour of chastising by people who believe that allowing the FDA to regulate the excessive salt content in processed food is another form of Obaminization which equals socialization. And to them, no good can come out of this administration because Rush says so.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  96. Mr.Conservative Irvine, CA

    All of this points to obesity and lack of exercise in the U.S today. Honestly I am not surprised to learn that 3/4 of the American people are unfit to serve in the military. Get the junk food out of schools and continue to promote fitness.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  97. Sean Covey

    It doesn't help that even if these kids pass all the tests and requirements to enlist, once they get to Basic Training or even their designated unit all their training is changed so much to allow them to stay in that same condition. The bad thing about that is that it is standardized. If you have a guy (or girl) that is in good physical and mental condition when they get through with basic they can actually be in worse shape than when they arrived.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  98. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It means we keep living up to our national culture of doing everything bigger is better!

    Bigger weapons, bigger defense and yes even creating all the conditions to get bigger adults that end up not being able to use bigger weapons and be big defendor! A lot of internal dialogue needs to take place as this is what we export elsewhere as a way of life!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  99. Matt

    This is a harsh reality that America must face. Fast food is simply that, fast and convenient and unhealthy. One consideration that has to be made is that the instructors at military boot camps are professionals at getting individuals in shape and ready for combat. Many of those who enlist in the military barely meet the minimum requirements to join, but are forced into a more healthy lifestyle that is favorable to the military. The training programs at these sites have the best facilities with the best instructors and could quickly turn those in the “heavy” category into ready to fight military members. Those who have criminal records or health problems have always been an issue and will always be an issue. There are many more ways to be eligible for the military than graduating from high school (i.e. GED with or other educational programs). Bottom line: I’m sure the military has a plan for issues like these and has always been able to meet their personnel demands.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  100. SGT `

    As an Army Recruiter I can tell you first hand that this is the truth. Between the physical issues ( Overweight, asthma etc), education issues ( Lack of hs degree, inability to pass ASVAB exam) and moral issues ( Criminal charges, drug use ect). we have a tough time finding qualified applicants. We are in trouble!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  101. Drew

    This isn't a problem unless 3/4 of the recruits graduating from boot camp are still too fat. I guarantee you that they aren't.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  102. Rachel, Texas

    It says: Become a dietitian! Great job security!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  103. Charlotte

    It won't solve the problem but I think if the school lunches are heavily subsidized by the Federal Government, then the Federal Government is well within its rights to mandate certain nutritional standards – if you don't want to do it, then you don't get the $$. Just maybe some of the kids will eat better as a result, although it won't help them once they're back home and Fat Momma is offering up KFC for dinner and then they go get donuts for dessert, while Fat Daddy occupies an easy chair and belches his way through an evening of television and doritos with beer. It's a legitimate concern and I for one applaud any efforts to help mitigate the hideous trends our society seems to be taking.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  104. Duke

    It means that there should be a PowerHouse Gym on each corner instead of Burger King, Jack.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  105. Emily

    I don't think the problem is with school lunches, but with athletics and physical education programs. In high school, my schedule was too full of academic classes to fit in an athletics class. But instead of allowing me to join three athletic teams outside of class(as I proposed and found a program for), my high school instead said that my only option was a correspondence P.E. program. I had written assignments for one semester of my athletics credit in high school!

    Corpus Christi, Texas

    April 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  106. Greg in Cabot, AR

    I wouldn't worry too much Jack, the US will do what what it does best....outsource the military. We already outsource many of the duties that soldiers used to do...remember KBR?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  107. Caren

    Honolulu, Hawaii


    We are a fast food society. I lived in Canada for one year and I rarely saw obese people, and not many fast food restaurants. The Canadians walk, hike and bike. Driving over the border into the USA, I knew I was back home because I observed so many obese children and adults. Most Americans don't eat or know what real food is. It is truly sad! Have you ever seen what consitutes a school lunch, provided by the USDA? Prisoners eat better! We need to focus on nutrition and getting kids moving.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  108. DMR-Las Vegas, Nevada

    So Jamie Oliver is onto something! Didn't help when my daughter was in elementary school around eight years ago and they stopped having recess – then all of a sudden no mandatory P.E. in middle school. That's where it started.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  109. Annie, Atlanta

    It means we should never have let the President’s Council on Physical Fitness go by the wayside. Of course, Michelle Obama brought up her own version and got the screamers all riled up. (I have my own theory on that, but for civility's sake will keep it to myself.)

    April 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  110. Jon H from PA

    Robots are the answer.

    The reason we are fat is because we have machines and computers to do everything for us. Ideally, we should all become more active and fit. But let's face reality. As long as we live in a free country, people are going to be unfit since it has become so easy to eat lots of fat and not exercise.

    If we develop robotics and AI technology that can replace a marine unit, we can have robots fight for us in the future.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  111. Randy in California

    I live on a nice quiet cul-de-sac of 7 lttle houses in sunny So Cal. Four of the seven homes have the same gardner and the same house cleaning service. Never seen any of my neighbors children mow a lawn, pull a weed, take out a trash can, or even pick the morning paper up from the driveway. I assume none of the children know how to clean their rooms or a toliet either. Does this say more about the Kids or the Parents?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  112. Chris McCormick

    Eating habits begin at home. We are in a time where mom and dad work and don't have time to cook a nutritious meal when they get home. This leaves our kids to their own devices when it comes to what they are eating.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  113. corie

    sounds dangerous: our current government is waging wars that the future generations will not be able to fight- due to the fact that a war is being waged on their bodies by the big business of the food industry. ironically, maybe being fat will save these kids lives. or rather, postpone death from a futile war, only to be met later through diabetes or heart disease.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  114. John from San Antonio

    What can we expect, for years we have been taught to get a degree so we wouldn't have to work. Couple that with affluence and being taught we were too busy to cook so we eat synthetic food. A sure fire recipe for a fat, lazy society.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  115. wk

    It's a " me " oriented generation . many who fall in the age category mentioned in the study expect immediate gratifaction , so does the study really shock you ? these are our futue leaders and they're lazy . what will they do , when faced with a true crisis situation and there are no leaders , because nothing has really been expected of them ? scary thought , isn't it .

    April 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  116. Bill

    My comment is not meant to belittle the fact that the U.S. has serious problems with obesity and education. Even those with a HS diploma often know very little about the world, math, or science. We are in serious trouble – I was only questioning the "facts" of the report.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  117. Brian Smith PhD

    Perhaps is says they have found a way to dodge the draft ???

    Brian Smith PhD
    San Diego CA

    April 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  118. PDH

    what's the incentive for these kids to get healthy? shape up and you can fight a future oil war?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  119. Sergeant Martin

    I have unique perspective, I served in the US Air Force for 22 years, as cook, and I'm now working in the school food service. The problem as I see it are with parents and guardians feeding their children.

    When I calculated the % of a student's meals on an annual basis the meals consumed at school represents about 16 % of their total meals. This 16 % represents the ONLY total meals that are ALREADY a balanced and nutritional meal that the students will consume. With my quick math, I calculate that leaves about 84 % of their meals with no guarantee of any nutritional balance, supervision, or education on eating healthy.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  120. todd

    I have a hunch the issue here isn't literaly are there enough fit people to join the military. The real issue is that with so many unfit kids, they will soon be really sick adults, who will later become dying middle aged adults.

    The problem is that with so many sedatary Americans, we have a health crisis looming that could turn back the clock on our life expectancy.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  121. JohnH

    Sounds WILDLY overstated. Sounds like the latest attempt at reverse-psychology to recruit those drawn by "see if you have what it takes?" advertising.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  122. Mike in Scottsdale

    People would rather pay for a sporting event than approve a tax hike for education. In turn schools have cut gym class and put garbage in the cafeteria. I remember when catsup and relish were considered vegetables.

    Both parents work to keep up with the joneses or whatever reason so there is no one at home when they get there.
    The Kids play video games and make their own dinners. They eat fast food so they can make ends meet.

    If parents were parents we would not have as big of a problem.

    Stop all food commercials aimed at children. Remove the crap from the cafeterias. Give the educations system more money so they can have better food and bring gym back. However, make sure everything is audited. There seems to be a lot of corruption in where the school fund actually go.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  123. Matt

    As tragic as the situation is, I can't help but chuckle a little bit at the thought of obesity as some sort of epidemic. In a world where poverty is the number one killer, we suburban America have to fight hostess cakes and hershey bars. However, this doesn't help the situation.

    Consider though, whether this is a problem that Americans actually want to face? It doesn't have the dramatic appeal that war, or politics, or celebrity news has. Most likely, this problem will remain unsolved as most Americans do not care. As cruel as it sounds, in a competitive world where jobs are slim, it may just be in my benefit to be the one in four physically fit, not just for military service, but the rest of the professional world as well.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  124. Chris

    We keep wanting to put less money into education. We should put more. Blaming the schools is a scapegoat. The real culprits are the corporations and the politicians working together to make laws and policy's that benefit the interest of business over the interest of citizens.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  125. B Schamberg

    In the event of a draft, obesity should not keep one from serving. They will just need to be sent to an extra boot camp where the fat gets worked off. If there are not enough able bodied people available to serve in our military, a draft will become necessary.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  126. Rob Duvall

    Too Fat....I was too skinny. After graduating high school, I joined the Army. Being the scrawniest kid in school, I was several pounds under the minimum weight requirements to join. On the advice of my recruiter, I consumed as much water as I possibly could prior to my official weigh in. Once I weighed in, I quickly traversed to the bathroom and relieved myself...just in time too!! I went on to proudly serve my country for four years, without any further weight issues. I actually gained 20 pounds during basic training. Being skinny doesn't always have it's advantages, however, being committed does. If a person truly wants to make something of their lives, they will strive to attain the goals they set for themselves.
    Phoenix, AZ

    April 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  127. Big Guy

    Back in the day, they avoided the draft/military by leaving the country. Now, we just eat too much. Seems like a fine substitute to me!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  128. Jen

    Oh my gosh, I completely agree. I was shocked when I went back in my diary when I was 12 (I'm 25 now) and saw that my favorite foods were "big macs, pizza hut" no surprise I grew up in suburbia and mickey d's/pizza hut were where my family went out to celebrate or get a treat. I wasn't and am not fat but I have deeply ingrained views of food and nutrition that even with excessive training and education (now in medical school) I still rid of and still can't cant find the discipline to lose the 20 lbs I want to lose. I hope in the future I will conquer this beast. I feel sorry for the kids who are growing up now who have it 10x worse.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  129. Jeremy D from Michigan

    I would disagree Jack. Today's youth are more prepared to fight than previous generations. They may not be in the right 'physical' shape, but that can be fixed with some intense excessive and diet change if the need arises. Today's youth are more technically savvy, and at least when it comes to men – more tactically savvy. I say this because of nearly every male 14-30 plays first person shooter video games. This teaches combat tactics and weapon knowledge. I can imagine you rolling your eyes right now Jack, but it is the truth. Sure young people are fatter this generation, but we are smarter (no offense).

    April 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  130. frank in valparaiso indiana

    the reason we put IN the school lunch program was that recruits in WWII were unfit due to poor nutrition. No teeth, poor bone growth, a lot of dietary problems. Now they're too fat. Sometimes you just can't win.....

    Realistically, we need to get kids out more. Make them walk to school. I did. Yeah in the snow, cold, heat.

    How many have bicycles? And we dropped PE. Now, a lot of PE was dumb, there is something you can do, if you're not good at what they pick, say running, you're a dork. Maybe you're a good boxer. Or swimmer. There is always something. You need to find and encourage that.

    All the waddlers at Wal Mart don't help. You know the ones as wide as the shopping cart.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  131. Dann W.

    This article says 1/4 of 17-24 year olds are too fat to fight but 3/4 are unfit for service. While fat may be the biggest reason overall, I am highly curious about the 50% of this age group who don't qualify for other reasons. NOT HAVING A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA is something we as a nation should work diligently to rectify.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  132. Andres Saenz(Albuquerque, NM)

    When I visited 3 different Italian cities last year(Rome, Florence, and Venice), I noticed that everyone across all age groups were thin and healthy. They looked like Calvin Klein models! Yet this is the country that invented pizza and spaghetti. So why are they so thin? It's because the Italian people eat 100% organic food, I could taste it in everything that I ate over there. Not only that, they lead active lifestyles, taking the bus and walking wherever they go.

    Here in America, on the nutrition labels you read at least 6 different chemicals that you cannot even pronounce such as monosodium glutamate(MSG). Do our bodies really need all those artificial chemicals? And look at all the greasy foods that many restaurants are serving....Sonic, Carl's Jr, Wendy's, and McDonald's should all be ashamed of themselves! In conclusion, I mostly blame the American food industry for this health crisis that many young people are facing right now.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  133. Wm Scot Tacoma

    For those how remember the movie about the kindly folks from another world that came down to help the human race only to find out they were here to fatten us up to eat. Well they are here now ! LOL

    April 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  134. Steve, NH

    Jack, the truth of the matter is that as a society we focus too much on things such as wealth, fancy cars in every driveway, and the next "fad" as measures of success. Instead we should measure ourselves against the generations who put us where we are: The people who were satisfied with small things and simple pleasures. Those who realized that life is a gift to be cherished and that an un-timely death due to gluttony is an affront to the countless generations that struggled so we could simply "be".

    April 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  135. Pat from Portland

    All one has to do is to look at and observe the parents of these young people. They are setting the examples, they are large-sizing portions at home, they are the ones who do not prepare healthy meals. It all starts at home. If the parents are obese, the odds are that the children will follow suit. And then add to this the sedentary lifestyle of the parents and our collective addiction to computers, TVs, video games, the cutting of gym classes in school.

    Sometimes when I am shopping at the mall, or in a restaurant, and parents are walking with their 5 year old child who has a beer belly already I wonder how they cannot notice this? Clueless, absolutely clueless.

    No one should be surprised at this situation at all.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
  136. larry wi

    When I went thru USMC boot camp in 1967, there was a "fat farm" that the over weight guy's went to. These guy's would now be held behind, and not be able to graduate with the rest of their platoon, but they would join the next platoon that came on board. I don't remember seeing any "fat" soliders during my time.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  137. Mike in New Orleans

    I thought it was the military's duty to make them fit for combat. If contestants on The Biggest Loser can lose over a hundred pounds in a couple of months, then let the military do the same with their fat recruits.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  138. Jonathan from Monterey, CA

    Let's bear in mind that less than 1% of the American population serve in the military. This 1% is a distribution of personnel from entry age to retirement age. We don't need 75% of American youth to be able to serve – just the select few who rise to the occasion. The fact that 25% of youths age 17-24 are overweight isn't a national security problem – it is a national health crisis.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  139. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – This is irrelevant unless we get involved in major land war and need a draft – very improbable given the state of military art. Our military are all volunteers, mostly "jocks", mostly already physically fit. The few that want to be soldiers and are not fit have 16 weeks of boot camp in which to to get fit. The idea that we are gong to need more than a few hundred thousand actual troops for any possible future war is out of touch with the reality of warfare today – automated, mechanized, and remote. If we were a nation that conquered places, that would be another matter – but we are not – we are the guys who win and leave, and we do not need large numbers of troops to do that.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  140. Kevin in CA

    It says that we're rollin' fat! As for the military, no problem.. We'll just outsource that also. Catch 22 and Milo Minderbinder comes to mind.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  141. Ron Storey

    As a basic training instructor in the 60s, we took the fat people in and put them on a weight loss program until they were fit for training. Out of shape people don't last long in a war zone.

    Divide, Colorado

    April 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  142. Jon

    Which are you mainly concerned about, Jack: healthy children or national security? The crocodiles in the military want us to produce healthy children for them so they can later send them to the battlefield to get blown to bits. The continued development of robots may one day (soon, I hope) render this use of fellow human beings an unnecessary relic of a barbaric heritage.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  143. Scott Stodden

    It says that kids need to be exercising on a regular basis and watch what there eating, and stop sitting in front of the computer, tv, or video games! When I was in school Jack all they served was pizza, sandwiches, burgers, fries, a salad bar and a snack bar, guess how many ate a salad for lunch? There needs to be a nutrition reform kind of bill in the school cafeteria and education at home about the dangers of overeating and obesity otherwise our future generation isn't going to have a national defense team or military!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    April 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  144. Lauren

    Food Inc. is on PBS tonight at nine, in case anyone is interested. The documentary focuses on the problem with our industrialized food supply, with all the fast food and preservatives and growth hormone goodness that goes along with it. Getting fresher, healthier food in schools and homes is one of the main solutions to the problem in that article up there.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  145. larry wi

    As for the school lunches, I was appaled at what I saw being made available at a TX high school in 2006, everything from french fries to pizza to soda (pop), and not one gym class.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  146. Willow, Iowa

    I don't think its the amount they eat, its the lack of exercise. Kids come home from school and nobody is home, they can't go outside and play, so they watch TV. video games, snacks, big supper then time for bed.

    Besides the military is famous for turning a roly poly guy into a mean green fighting machine. They have a challenge, don't they?

    April 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  147. Matt

    Despite all of this New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is slashing state aid in many school districts across New Jersey which is forcing them to cancel many after school athletics. With all of the wasteful spending in this country you would think that education and especially physical education/ athletic spending would be a top priority right now.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  148. Susan

    Jack, I'm afraid that the idea of parenting today means feeding the kids sugar coated junk for breakfast, dumping the kid at school with his Chicken McNuggets, then immersing the kids at every social event in a never-ending stream of birthday party junk food – pizza, chips, coke, cookies, etc, etc. Parents are afraid to say no to this crap for fear of turning their kids into social outcasts. I always think, if I had a kid, would I allow him to sit around smoke cigarettes and drink? No, I would not allow him to consume such poisonous garbage, and it makes no difference if it masquerades as "food" or not.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  149. Dave B.

    I don't know too many physically fit parents that have obese kids. We have to get off the couch ourselves and go throw the ball around. Exercise and general communicating might ensue. Besides, It's hard to eat junk food with a baseball glove on your hand.

    Dave B.
    Chadds Ford, PA

    April 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  150. Conor in Chicago

    There are two major problems here:

    1) School districts are so underfunded that they have to turn to corporations to make ends meet. So as a result, when your 8 year sees a 10 minute documentary on Miosis and Metosis in biology class it is "brought to you by (insert fast food corporation here)". Try telling you kid that fast food is bad for them after a few years of that.

    2) Teachers and administrators have to cater to "high maintenance" parents so much that schools are terrified of enforcing anything considered hard at all-like say, recess.

    It's for many reasons like this that the military has an even bigger problem: People like me who are 32, a little over weight but nothing basic training wouldn't take care of, but see no reason to even fight for this country anymore. That's their biggest problem Jack-not fat kids.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  151. James from TEXAS

    Jack, here is just another example of Congress waiting until the problem is full blown to do anything about it. If we are to go to war with Iran it would require a draft and a long term committment of our troops there. The sad thing is most would claim that it is not the government's job to ensure a healthy population, that it is a personal choice. Its as if they have forgotten that government actually does alot of good too. I will never buy into the notion by some on the extreme right that government is never a issue to our social issues.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  152. Chase Walker

    From Charlie in Liverpool, NY...
    "The main reason for this is because you can no longer trust it is going to be safe for the children to play outside. Doesn’t matter if you live in the inner city or the suburban areas or in the rural country, we have bad people who hurt children, so we keep them inside behind locked doors for their safety."

    Just my opinion....but the bad guys, the criminal element....have always been here. With the age of the internet, we hear about everything going on everywhere. Back when I was a kid (late 70's-early 80's) in a lot of places there was more crime then than there is now, we just didn't hear about it to the extent that we do now. Our kids aren't in any more danger than when we were kids.

    Because of modern times (the internet, and the press) we have become the age of paranoia. Just think about it.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  153. Bryson from Altus AFB,OK

    The biggest problem I see with this whole issue is that as the generations go on kids have less and less determination to go out and be active. Since technology is increasing rapidly, it is causing more and more kids to have less desire to want to leave the house. Growing up I played soccer and baseball, mainly because of desire to get out of the house and my parents gave me some movitation too. With kids having all of the gaming systems and cell phones at such a young age makes them think its ok. It's up to the parents to mediate how much time they spend playing video games or watching TV.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  154. Sarg

    It means we can finally give meaning to the phrase,
    "Make love, not war.", Jack.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  155. Randy Holder

    I did my deal during Viet Nam...The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club aboard the Oriskany. It was an aircraft carrier, now it's a diving attraction off Pensacola, but I digress.

    Video games, food not fit for billy goats, parental apathy, The Politically Correct saying making Little Johnny sweat at school violates his rights....no wonder a kid these days doesn't even know what a sit up is.

    My son served, aboard the Enterprise in the Persian Gulf. Get the kids away from the Playstations, Nintendos and even the Wii's. Feed'em something besides McGarbage and put MANDATORY physical education back in schools.

    That's the way it was done here in Saint Louis, Missouri.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  156. Paul from Canada

    Well people, as far as I can tell, it's YOUR choice what you eat. Isn't that what people have been saying for years – give cheap, fast food to the masses, and it's their choice whether they eat it or not. So are we saying that freedom to make your own choices is NOT the way to go? Funny, most of the world draws that line in a different spot than the US... I guess where freedom of choice and regulation meet isn't such a simple concept as many Americans would have you believe...

    April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  157. Mike in Scottsdale

    Let’s not forget modern times.

    When I was a youth I played outside. When it got dark we got a flashlight and played more. We did chores like yard work.

    The kids nowadays play video games. Parents are too afraid to let them play outside without supervision. They are not allowed to do yard work since they could get hurt.

    It seems like the media has scared many parents. it also seems like many parents never learnt the lesson on why their parents made them do things and therefore they do not force their children to work.

    Once again it is the parents to blame. Then again look at the waist line of most parents.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  158. Chris

    As a nephrologist I see it coming down the pipeline. These children will bankrupt our country when they develop diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease all before they are 50.

    Health care reform is not all about requiring insurance or a prescription drug benefit, it is about eating healthy, exercising and taking responsibility for our own bodies. It is a shame our country cannot understand that surgery and pills doesn't fix our medical problems. Healthcare reform starts with personal responsibility and a healthy lifestyle.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  159. Nabeel

    I think it says that Castro won. Lift the embargo, stop using sugar substitutes and lets get back to using the REAL, better for you sugar.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  160. Steve

    To me it says that health and nutrition classes should be mandatory for elementary school and high school children. We need to start teaching kids how to live a long healthy life because obviously their parents are no longer teaching this to them at home.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  161. Homeless D in Atlanta

    It says that the fast food restaurants have won.

    It means that if we are ever in a position where we need EVERYONE to help defend the country, we are in a world of trouble!

    However, have you taken a look at our law enforcement officers lately? I hope I do not ever have to rely on any of the fat guys or gals who are there to protect and serve, to save my life. Not if it means they have to RUN or CLIMB or CARRY ME!

    The whole country is fat and unhealthy. The medical experts keep TELLING us this. We are not listening. Maybe fat fills the ears first.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  162. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If they're unfit for military service then that means they won't be drafted or the military will need to change their fitness requirements.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  163. Vickster

    Maybe it's just me (and I'm in my late 20's) but if I sat around anywhere too long in the house, my parents opened up the door and kicked me outside. They didn't care as long as I was moving. Turn off the TV, Turn off the computer, Take away the portable electronic toys and get them moving!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  164. DerrickAnthony

    Blame, Blame, Blame it on society, tv, video games, schools, the Government – whatever. Lazy parents = Lazy kids that think they shouldn't do what they don't want to do. We are a society that makes excuses for everything, and blame it on everyone else – except ourselves. Stop making excuses and do what's right for yourselves. Don't expect others to step in and clean up your mess. Grow up and take charge of your own lives. No one else can do it for you!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  165. Diane from Los Angeles, CA

    I think the level of obesity in American society is inexcusable. As a child, I and my siblings were always involved in sports. Our mother did not serve junk and we never developed a taste for it. Does anyone remember the saying "you are what you eat"? And what is with this exercise-allergy Americans seem to have? Wake up America!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  166. katiec Pekin, IL

    The parents most certainly cannot be held blameless. How many meals are fast food rather than healthy, home cooked meals? And,
    do you see kids outside playing anymore, games requiring exercise?
    No, they are allowed to spend their time with video games, on the computer or watching TV.
    This is the height of laziness and irresponsibility. The schools having
    nutricious meals, which they don't, will not amount to a hill of beans if junk food is served at home.
    Taking away gym classes from the schools is also partly to blame.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  167. Scott in Ok

    I witnessed a fellow soldier lose 50 pounds in basic training. The first two months the Drill Sergeants insisted we only refer to this soldier as "Hog" – after tremendous effort on his part he became fit and we were then instructed to call him by his name. My only concern is this individual was motivated, and never quit, no matter how much abusive language and challenges were placed in front of him. I'm guessing that type of character does not relate to every overweight individual, but it does prove that entering military service in obese form can be overcome with dedication.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  168. harold, Phoenix,AZ.

    We as a nation should require physical activity for our young people.
    we cannot opt for the let them do as they please lifestyle, if physical regimens are taught portions of it remain in the life practices.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  169. Tanvir

    I think people today, and probably in the future, aren't getting enough exercise because the streets are dangerous anytime in the day, and parents would be too afraid to let their children go outside.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  170. Charlie

    This isn't about the government, or food supply, or any of that nonsense. This is about personal responsibility and personal health. Next thing you know these lazy, sloppy, weak, soft, fat kids that don't exercise and eat too much will grow up to vote for someone like Obama hoping for more free stuff, like healthcare. Get ready to pay for them, America, because they are entitled!

    Sign them up for Pop Warner Tackle Football and let them run and sweat every day. Kids should be in year-round sports, not rely solely on P.E. in school. Kids should have P.E., sports, and play, and a good diet, and they need to sweat every day. No video games until you burn 500 calories.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  171. Robin

    Start in the 4th grade, a nutriton and manatory physical education program till the student graduates the 12th grade. Also up the 50 states teen driving age to 18 or diploma in hand. I had to meet phyiscal education requirements all thru school remember "jJumping Jacks" Jack.

    Robin, Proud Army Mom HOOOORAAAH "1st Cav rocks"

    Ridgeley, Wv

    April 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  172. Seth (Brooklyn, NY)

    It says we aren't giving PEAS a chance!

    April 21, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  173. Tim F

    People are missing the point. Obesity is a societal issue and we've been heading down this road for decades. Don't try to blame the fast food joints or the schools or anyone but the parents. It's the parents that allow it to happen and or they simply don't properly educate their children through oral communication and their own actions. I too am a parent but refuse to allow my two children to eat unhealthy food. I also require them to exercise routinely and follow my and their mother's example. As far as the report goes stating that about 3/4ths of the youth being unfit for duty – show me the study and the results. What criteria were used in the study? What pool of 17-24 year-olds were studied? Who are the researchers that conducted the study and produced the results and what are their credentials? Who verified the data and the results? I ask all these questions because where I am I see 3/4ths of the young adults as being of average or good health and at least of average physical fitness. So, I disagree with the report until I see more evidence to convinces me otherwise.
    Tim F. US Marine 28 yeas and counting.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  174. Donaldo


    The answer is simple, take all of the over 50 crowd, present company included, plus Congress, let them step up to fill the void. i can hear the deafening silence as I write this.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  175. TMC

    I was a Drill Sergeant. You can't undo 18 years of bad parenting in 3 months.
    You can make them loose the weight but it takes a long time to build the bone mass needed for the military. Lots of stress factures cuz they build muscle alot faster than bone, especially with the ladies. Lot's and lots of stress factures due to a lack of bone mass.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  176. Michael E in DC

    Maybe if the military establishment would invent a weapon or devise a means of combat that included text messaging or tweeting we'd have absolutely nothing to worry about.

    Or a better solution might be to encourage American fast food chains to open locations ALL OVER THE WORLD. Eventually every nations potential soldiers would be unfit.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  177. Don in Las Vegas, NV

    I wouldn't have preferred for Obama to stop the wars himself, but this is ok too. Nature works in mysterious ways.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  178. aaron

    I dont see this as a problem. I see it as a silver lining. Maybe this will end the empire.

    One can hope

    April 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  179. Gary S

    My experience in the military was that the rigorous PT of Basic turned a kid not unlike kids today into pretty fit fighting machine. And I had a lot of pride and respect for myself at what I had accomplished in a short time.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  180. Sean in St. Louis

    It says that we are lazy with our choices. People eat a bunch of foods they know are terrible for them, sit around on the couch all day, get zero exercise, then sue McDonald's or try to fix their weight through surgery. Swap soda for water, chips for salad, and go for a jog every day.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  181. laura

    Just watch the movie WALL-E thats where we'll be soon. Everyone is overweight, no one walks anywhere they just hop on their floating chair and eat fast food all day.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  182. Marc L from NY

    Almost all of the problems we face in society today are interconnected. It is not just overweight kids. And it is definitely not just the food they eat in school. Jack, you mention we have become a sedentary society. Well what happens when we become sedentary? It is not just our physical characteristics that deteriorate. We become mentally sedentary as well. We become lazy both physically AND mentally. Behaviors we used to look at as a society and say "unacceptable" now become acceptable. Why? Because it is easier to rationalize it as being OK rather than stand up and fight it. You become sedentary and your principles become looser because it is hard work to live up to them. Sure, everybody talks a good game but when push comes to shove, the other effects of a sedentary life occur, namely, the blame game. It is always someone else's fault because it is easier to blame than be responsible. But isn't it human nature to become this way when things become too easy? After all, we certainly have it much easier today than 50 years ago, as did those people have it easier 50 years ago than 50 years before them. Convenience leads to sedation.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  183. AJ

    I am a teacher in a state that requires 4 semesters of PE (2 years max). I came from one of TWO STATES LEFT in the entire nation that required 8 full semesters (4 full years) of P.E. And though running laps around the gym may not have been a fantastic time for four years, it sure did instill a sense of regiment, self-responsibility, and health that I carry with me into my adulthood. And for that very reason, I believe the students that come from Illinois public education would most likely be on-the-whole healthier than students from most other states. REINSTATE 4 YEARS of PE. High school is the crucial time when children develop the kind of habits they will keep as adults. We must make exercise a regular habit. It's so so imperative.

    April 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  184. gc3333

    We coddle our kids way too much these days. They aren't even allowed to play dodge ball in school anymore because the "experts" are afraid it might hurt their feelings if the ball hits them. It's the liberal apologists and attorneys who are responsible for this. I remember playing dodge ball when I was in school, often covered with red ball marks and always dripping sweat after a really competitive game. But I was thin, fit, happy, and couldn't wait to play the next game. Sigh...

    April 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  185. Linda in Arizona

    And once they get wherever they're going, what do they find, built and waiting? McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and the rest of the disgusting Fat Food Dumps. It doesn't matter really. In another 10 years or so most of our military will be run from computers far from the fighting, and the rest will be staffed by mercenaries. Go Empire!! Hooyah.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  186. Bobby in Macomb, IL

    It proves that our countries parents who call themselves responsible are taking their kids through McDonald's too much and aren't disciplining their kids enough to get into shape.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  187. charls

    All of this is true, BUT we have to realize that this has always been true. The physical standards during the Vietnam war was much lower than it is now. Nowadays the Marines requires that a man to be able to do 4 pullups. I know this to be true because I know a kid who wanted to join the Marines. He spent weeks doing PT with a Marine recruiter until he was able to pass that requirement before being allowed to join.

    During the Vietnam war, if you were warm and breathing, you could get in the Army and the Marines. Nowadays the military want everyone to be in top physical condition before joining. This is perfectly reasonable BUT in a big war it will not happen. In a big war, the military will take anyone who is warm and breathing and put in the best physical shape that can be done within the training time.

    The physical fitness of our young people should be a top priority but it takes a lot of money to make it happen. Good food, education on eating and physical education, all take money that is not being supplied now. Until government supplies the money, it will not happen.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  188. Nichole in Denver

    It says that parents are not parenting and our children are lazy and uneducated. There's always going to be junk food and fast food to choose from but you have to be smart enough and strong enough to make the right choices and if you're not than you are not smart enough and strong enought to fight for our country. Makes sense.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  189. Mike in Scottsdale

    Just like tobacco, we should end food advertising that is aimed at children.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  190. Mike

    Blame the Parents. No personal responsibility. There is always someone else to blame. Fat people should be taxed more than rich people. They cost more. Tax per pound. Fat people are a drain on our society. And they look unhealthy too...fat people are bad for morale. A woman over 200lbs? Should be illegal. A Man over 300? Pathetic. When you have to wear and xxL.....stop defending yourself...you have no excuse. Nuf Said. Gross.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  191. Sarah

    No matter how you feel about the military, if 3/4 of the youth in this country are unfit for military service, that means that 3/4 of them are probably unfit for a whole lot of other things besides military service. I observe a lot of youth and their ability to speak coherently, to spell, to write a complete paragraph, to do simple math, to read, to pay attention to anything that's not loud and brightly colored for more than five minutes is profoundly deficient. It's scary!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  192. Gene wallace Clearwater Fl

    Dear Jack ,I just returned from visiting our nephew at Parris Island .He is a Drill Instructor .I can assure you that the Marine Corp DIs are up for the challenge with a unique physical fitness program .

    April 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  193. Jesse J Vancouver Canada

    Hi Jack,

    America is fat and can not afford another war any way, I say eat pizza, drink 1/2 gallon sodas and super size everything.

    Jesse J
    Vancouver Canada

    April 21, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  194. Kevin of San Diego

    It says we need to re-enact the draft, and lower the standards so that we can send all these unfit youth, men, women, and transgender into boot camp so that they shape up before they bankrupt Obama’s Healthcare program!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  195. Steve Harris

    I'll bet there is a whole bunch of us Viet Nam Era Veterans that would be glad to get & could get the job done. Overweight or not. We understand.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  196. Irwin

    It's sad are youth are sedentary and fat, but if it shuts down these insane wars one day, there's some good in it!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  197. Troy

    Maybe it says that we need to stop fighting wars? Maybe it's time to start using our brains as a nation and stop placing ourselves in situations where we need to defend ourselves. Maybe, sitting in front of a computer and learning about the rest of the world , as some of these young folks are doing will lead to a world where we actually talk to each other and come up with mutually beneficial global solutions. Maybe?

    April 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  198. EB

    More to the point what does it say about our country that we might care more about what this does to our military than what we should be caring about- – the health of the individual.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  199. Duane

    Wow..is it really gonna take the government to feel the pinch before they chose to do the right thing for Americans? This is a disturbing precedence that's demonstrating that you have to hit the government where it hurts before a necessary reform comes forward. Pain reforms? I bet there will be a swift response. The FDA is already curbing salt in foods.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  200. michaeljwjr

    It says that parents are working too hard to pay attention to their children, schools are too underfunded to provide programs to keep them busy, and children are being left too unsupervised and being raised by advertisement, and being taught to eat by commercials. Obese children is a product of so many social issues that it will take the collective effort of the entire adult nation to change the course of the nutrition and healthy living for the children of america.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  201. Lisa Scott

    Wow, so maybe all of those fast food restaurants in our poor communities will actually end up saving the lives of those poor kids who are the ones who always fight our wars. It's called a poverty draft. Brilliant! Eat up kids!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  202. Leigh

    While I appreciate your disappointment with the current state of America's teens, the bah-humbugging of the First Lady's initiative will not help. Inspiration to change needs positive passion. The turnaround of today's fat teenagers is possible. The only question is when do we start?

    April 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  203. Ken in NC

    It says that the parents of this country have fed our youth so well that our military services will be able to cut defense spending as they will no longer have to provide as much food for recruits in boot camp while they burn off excess calories brought from home.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  204. Zach - Florida

    Perhaps the military needs to ease these entrance standards. Why do you need to be slim since boot camp whips you into shape anyway. Have you seen the biggest loser?

    April 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  205. Kristen Vasan

    Doesn't everyone in America watch the Biggest Loser? If a 400 pound man can find his 170 pound chisled abs, surely an overweight child can be whipped into army shape faster than you can spell Jenny Craig.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  206. Mac

    This is sad but we have an all-volunteer military. If there is anyone to blame its the parents and schools for not focusing on physical fitness and proper eating habbits.

    There are a lot of people who ARE in the military who are out of shape too.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  207. Steve Freed R.Ph. Diabetes Educator

    Obesity leads to Diabetes and the CDC has stated that any child born 2000 and above, 1 in 3 will get diabetes and shorten their life-span.
    AND if African American, Native American, Hispanic American or Pacific Islander, EVERY OTHER PERSON WILL GET DIABETES!

    Right now it cost the US 180 billion dollars and is expected to grow to 380 billion dollars by 2025. It will bankrupt our whole medical system unless we begin to Prevent diabetes and not just treat it.

    I was recently in a High School teaching the students about diabetes and I asked them, Who has diabetes in their immediate family and out of 90 kids, 100% said they had diabetes in their family.

    Steve, Deerfield, IL. Pharmacist and Diabetes Educator

    April 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  208. Andrew, TN

    Fat or thin, the fat (fact) is the vast (huge) percentage of these kids would never dream of serving their country in the military. Why? It's too hard. It's too much work. It's too much exercise. They'd rather go off and drink away four years of frat life. I say reinstate the draft but only to force all these punks that have no respect for their elders to serve in the military...especially these rich kids that drive BMW's to high school that Mommy and Daddy bought them...spoiled rotten. They'll come out of the service fitter and more appreciative of life..not to mention more respectful of others.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  209. Dominick Scafidi

    This is absolutely horrible. I'm 15 and I'm physically fit but i don't know why so many of us have become so lazy and pampered. We need to change our ways, and if that means new laws on food and nutrition restrictions so be it.I've had enough of having my school district send someone to come and speak to us about obesity and then have next period be lunch and have 90% of the kids walk out of the lunch line with pieces of pizza and mounds of fried foods.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  210. Natala Orobello

    I am sick and tired of people blaming government, big business, etc. Let's put the blame on the stupid individual who eats what he/she wants to eat without thinking about calories, fat content, sodium, and sugar from processed food. Why aren't parents cooking healthy and/or teaching their children what to eat to stay healthy? Why aren't parents or adults exercising more? These are choices we make as individuals. My gosh, why do Americans insist on blaming others for everything that's wrong in this society? Let's start looking at ourselves!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  211. Edyth from Brandon, Florida

    What the fact that most of the kids 17-24 are too overweight to serve their country says about us is that we should be looking in the mirror not at only the kids but ourselves as well. We have too many generations who, along with having no respect for themselves, have no respect for their country and/or the shared sacrifice necessary to defend this country if necessary.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  212. Evan

    Does anyone remember the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness (early 1970's), I won a big running race due to the motivation it provided and those childhood memories are some of the most treasured.

    I drank sugar filled soda, chased the Good Humor truck to get sugar filled ice cream, and could not wait to go to the candy store. I still am underweight, and still excercise almost every day (and still eat licorice). I am not sure what the problem is- video games, couch life-style, texting rather than walking from school, etc etc. I just don't know, but things are way different than in the 70's- Richard Nixon provided me with a challenge, and I answered!


    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  213. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – Even if this was a real problem that required a real solution, the Constitution does not grant the Federal government any power to do anything about it. Physical fitness of the population is not under Federal jurisdiction. School lunch is not actually under Federal jurisdiction- there is influence through funding and standards, but schools are legally free to do as their local elected school boards dictate. A problem does not become Federal just be being all over – most law in this country is State law, because most issues are in-State issues, including this one!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  214. Mark from Michigan

    Sure school lunches are a factor, it's 30 percent of our youth's diet and perhaps the only real meal for some. French fries and pizza ? School lunches need to offer more, or maybe less ! An apple a day !

    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  215. Leigh

    @ EB...your point is well taken. However, the individual will cease to exist if this free society is threatened. There must be a standing army/defense of any thriving country.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  216. Enzo - new york

    They need to ease the entrance requirements since basic training will involve rigorous exercise anyway.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  217. Corinne

    It's saying parents aren't doing their job. Stop blaming the schools or your economical situation. EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE!! Get off your couch, go for a walk with your kids, kick around a soccer ball, be a role model.

    BC, Canada

    April 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  218. Jim Doyle

    Come on Jack that's easy – clearly there's a shortage of McDonalds, Burger King and other anti-war fast food establishments in the regions that concern the US military. Expanding fast-food franchises in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and in other world hot-spots will level the playing field for our troops and lower the anxiety levels all around...fat people are generally less aggressive than their poorly fed counterparts.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  219. Todd

    Sounds like we should start doing what many of our western allies do...REQUIRE service in the military as a duty not only to our country, but also as a duty to change this disturbing trend that has only spun out of control as of late in our country. As a 24 year old man who has not served in the military but would fall into the "required" age group, I would rather see an action like that or similar if it means the next generation won't have to worry about things like, dare I say, teenage heart disease...

    April 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  220. Mike Billotte

    You want to know who is to blame for our kids obesity? Not the major food corporations, not the fast food outlets, not you, because you look like you are in pretty good shape, but the PARENTS of these children. They either are uninformed or they don't care. Food is a pacifier when the kid gets old enough to complain to the chagrin of the parents. (Keep them quiet, I don't want to hear it) How to change it? I don't know. Gov't can't do it, so it has to be the parents. Keep up the good work.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  221. Kate, Greenwich, CT

    Solve obesity among youth and prepare them for military service:
    Make it mandatory that all young people upon graduating from high school and high school dropouts by age 18 serve one year of military duty. Teach them nutrition, physical fitness, and do 8 weeks basic training. Help non grads get their GED. In addition help prepare them for the job market if not going to college. Colleges should be willing to wait the extra year for enrollment.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  222. A.B. Baltimore Maryland

    This troubling fact does not bode well for our nation's future or security. It also does not bode well for our economy. We need to collectively do something to combat the growing obesity epidemic. The military recruits from an American population afflicted with this problem and should also help to address the problem. There needs to be more excercise incentives and programs in the nation's schools, workplaces and communities. These programs should be economically affordable to all people. We need to restructure our diets and start making healthy food affordable. Public health should prevail over private healthcare. These initiatives will effectively address and reduce this problem.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  223. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    That means that our youth need maturity, lots and lots of maturity. They need to get from from their youth counselors, mentors, friends, etc.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  224. Gilbert Wise

    Obesity is symptomatic of an underlying national malaise particular in many of the youth. This malaise is driven by fewer jobs, visions of compensation to those who cheat or steal (aka Wall Steet and the Banks). This easy way is fostered by Credit cards, and further enhanced by mental corruption caused by TV inanities.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  225. Corey Chapman in New York

    This has always been an issue in this country when you hear the phrases to fat to fly and to fat to fight. I blame the schools and the parents. the kids will only eat what you give them. Most kids are not going to stop and think about the dangerous effects over eating.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  226. Allan Gendelman

    I think that if 3/4 of youth is unfit for military service, then there should be major health reform. Kids should have more Phys Ed, health and tastier food in school. They should be taught the horrors of being over-weight. They should also be taught to love the army and be proud of it and encourage kids to service their country in any way. (Army, CIA, Police, etc.)

    April 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  227. Xavier


    Besides the fast food and video games/computer issue, the US suffers from the car culture. Wherever people go, they drive their car. And the more they drive their car, the more they rely on them and the less they WALK. Walking is a daily exercise for most European people and you can definitely see the results in terms of obesity rate in Europe compares to the US.

    Frenchman stuck in New York City

    April 21, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  228. Greg

    If the bar's too high, lower the bar. Shooting a rifle isn't rocket science. When I was in the Army back in the 70's, I was told that if the need got bad enough, they'd take the blind, lame, and lazy. I'll bet that holds true today, as well.

    Our kids may be fat and sedentary, but they do have the most muscular thumbs in the world. It's a shame they can't harness all that texting power and energy!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  229. John, Fort Collins, CO

    The United States of America has a history of rarely rising to the occasion until the cow chips have hit the fan. Having been drafted into the Army in 1967 when Viet Nam was well beyond a disaster I had the opportunity in training to see the miraculous transformation of ordinary slobs into cannon fodder. Those who were way out of shape at the start, looked pretty decent at the end of basic and advanced infantry training. It is amazing when your own butt is on the line how quickly you get into shape. The draft wasn't all bad.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  230. John - In Oregon

    I did not truly notice how fat we have become as a Nation, until I traveled to Eastern Europe and the Balkans this past summer.

    Oh, yes, you see a heavy person here and there, but NOTHING like what you see here in the USA. Those people actually get out of the house from time to time. Go figure.

    This is a National tragedy for us.

    One of the reasons that the Roman Empire collapsed is that Rome's Citizen Soldiers got fat, dumb, and happy ... just like us. Just read Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."

    April 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  231. Harry

    I'm a Vietnam Era Vet. I was 125 lbs at 6' 2" until i was almost 30 years of age. Its because times were tougher, we had no computers, no cell phones, no xboxes. Cheetos & coke could not be bought in schools, and we had to exercise with slim fit teachers instructing. Today you have fat over weight cops, teachers and Military leaders. As far as fighting wars , ground pounding is over. the next war will be fought by little fat men sitting behind computers pushing buttons with their fat little fingers.

    Harry from Georgia

    April 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  232. John T Talamini

    Isn't that what boot camp is for? I'm pretty sure being overweight can be rectified with a good diet and 8 weeks of hard exercise. I don't remember being fat was a valid reason for deferment during the Vietnam war.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  233. Wade Howard

    The last thing we need is for the government to step in and start regulating what we eat. That's exactly the kind of thing the tea baggers fear: social engineering. It may be for the greater good but it does take away personal freedoms. We need to become a nation that takes personal responsibility for what we eat, the things we say and the way we live our lives. Until that happens no amount of government intervention will solve our nations problems. Hopefully we can pull ourselves back from the brink before its to late.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  234. Dan

    First off, what others have said is true about in the past kids would go outside and play more, and now they just play video games. But really, everything in life is much more fast paced now. People feel like they don't have time to prepare a healthy meal or are too tired from work to do so; so they go to a fast food place to get a quick fix. If anything is really going to change, some major things need to happen which I'm pretty sure most Americans won't like.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  235. Susan Whitney

    How true it is that as each generation grows up in an easier life style of not having to exercise even to do daily chores nowadays as the portion sizes of what is served at home and in restaurants gets larger and larger.
    I believe more parents should take more responsibility for their children and themselves. It starts at home. I'm sick of hearing parents placing the blame on restaurants and schools. I remember bringing my lunch to school in a brown paper bag....for example, a sandwich of whole wheat with turkey and an apple. or a thermos of chicken noodle soup...and maybe a couple of times a week a "couple" of oreos
    Now the norm for lunchalmost every day is a double or triple cheeseburger with extra large fries with a coke or a shake...almost daily. Back in my day it was a treat to have a single cheeseburger with fries...once on the weekend or every other week.
    Sad to say, unless more parents take responsibility, I don't see our situation of recruiting for the military getting better...or the health of our nation as a whole.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  236. RickFromDetroit

    The solution to good health and nutrition is to cut every ones pay and force them to work two jobs or extended hours at one job so we can keep our corporate profits up. This includes the husband and wife. Then after working all of these hours to provide for the family, tell them to prepare fresh meals and go to the health club and get some exercise.

    Remember years ago when we worked 40 hours a week and the wife stayed home and cared for the house and kids? We had time for other things back then.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  237. Anup Halder

    Youth of this country need to be fit and healthy. However the "unfit" health situation of 3/4 of youth DOES NOT jeopardize future national security. Traditional warfare will be history in a few years and wars will be fought on policy matters and remotely when physical damage is necessary. Even today remote controlled drones are dropping explosives. And for all we know "fat and unfit" people are sitting in front of computer screens in Arizona and successfully carrying out military aggression in remote locations of Afghanistan. Brains and technology is more important than physical abilities of military personnel

    April 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  238. Elizabeth Shick

    It's not school lunches or lifestyle. Studies are showing that babies are being born fatter due to pre-natal(in the womb) exposure to chemicals causing cell differentiation to create a greater proportion of fat cells than in previous generations. This is just the beginning. Future generations will be born fatter & fatter.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  239. Steven in Santa Monica

    every school in America has soda and candy machines, school lunches are unhealthy and the lowest quality, when i was in high school myself (about 15 years ago) if i had the misfortune of having to eat school lunch i spent the rest of the afternoon feeling lousy and trying to stay awake, get the corporations out of the cafeteria and demand healthy lunches, there will be a drastic increase in kids health in a month. also, stretching and daily exercise are a part of a students day in many other countries, but in the US we see less and less of it, students now have a couple hours of gym class a week, and spend a lot of that time juggling and doing ropes courses, get all the kids out and running every morning and you'll see another drastic increase in health and performance. its win-win all over

    April 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  240. Dave

    This is the deal, when i graduated from High School in 1969 we were required to take P.E. class Freshman through Senior years and we were required to shower, you know, promote good hygiene. Now a day’s P.E. is only required here in progressive California i believe Freshman and Sophomore years. Most of us had one stay at home parent who could cook and take care of our food consumption. Ya, after school and on Saturdays we may at times have eaten junk food, arrest me, but we were given good examples, good exercise, good food for the most part and we spent a lot of time outside and were not allowed to watch TV all the time unless we were sick and then we were treated like princes and princesses.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm |

    Politicans should ban all lobbiest from goverment and re-instate a branch of service upon graduation from high school just like they do in switzerland and isreal.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  242. Lunchlady1

    Any school district that participates in the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program, and many schools do, is required to meet very strict nutritional guidlines regarding the amount of fat, sodium, sugar and calories. These are probably the healthiest meals most students in this country will eat. For the real answer as to why our children are fat look no further than Mommy's pantry. IF there's any food in the house it's probably heat-n-eat: high in sodium, calories and fat. A lunchable is not a meal. With the amount of sodium alone it qualifies more as a salt-lick. Read labels, and understand what you're reading. Unplug the electronics and get your fat kids moving!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  243. doug

    reminds me of my old history professors prophesy, in warning that we are following the downfall of the roman empire. Greed corruption and laziness,

    April 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm |

    Seems to me, if there is no other reason to disqualify them from service, enlist them anyway, and if they haven't lost weight by the end of their basic training, which should be as vigorous as it was during the draft–then boot them out. I don't remember being overweight being a reason for disqualification during the draft. What about that???

    April 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  245. Dean MN

    Different generation. I used to walk to school, lived in town, about a mile each way. Today when I walk somewhere to run errands, do shopping, or just for the heck of it I get the craziest looks from some people. Some people look at me like I am from a different planet when tell them I am going to walk somewhere even if it is within a block. I have seen more people in our downtown area come out of a store on one side of the street, get in their car, go to the end of the block on the other side, park and get out to go into another store. Ever look in a parking lot and watch how many people drive around looking for a parking spot near the door or drop somebody off at the door? And many of those people are quite capable of walking.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  246. Mari, Utah

    Sad, very sad. As the mother of grown kids I know how important good nutrition is. Children's ability to learn, brain development, strength of body, overall health is all about what WE parents feed them.

    Kids can't be obese if it were not for parents buying junk for them!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  247. Michael

    I remember when they started easing the physical fitness requirements in schools K-12. Parents of substandard children complained because their kids were embarrassed because they couldn't keep up with the more active children. I now have a child in middle school and cannot understand why the showers are unavailable, a brand new gymnasium is barely used, and hygiene is not part of the health/physical education curriculum. It's no wonder we have so many fat people in society now clogging the healthcare system and their arteries. It's really a shame to hear 3/4 of the youth are too fat to qualify for selective service. I think parents should be help accountable and charged with child abuse for having obese children.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  248. Susan Callahan

    The government is too quick to blame the schools....have they ever considered their engineered seeds producing starch laden foods is playing a role.....or the reality that 90% of the groceries in stores are not whole, healthy .or fresh foods. What's the alternative, let the kids starve?

    April 21, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  249. Joe from Missouri

    It says we as parents and teachers haven't done our job. The fast food and fat food industry isn't going away. Just a cogent observation, if you see big parents, you will see big kids. This says to the kids it's okay to eat what we eat when we eat it, no matter what the nutritional value or caloric intake. At school, these poor kids are made fun of and ridiculed but their condition is a learned condition and the parents don't do anything about it. These kids will pass this behavior on to their kids. Soda machines and candy machines should be removed from schools and P.E. class be made mandatory. Positive enforcement should play a role when kids start to eat healthy and get back to a manageable weight. Teachers should make their students aware of what is waiting for them as they turn into adults and have to live this lifestyle. Don't blame the kids. Blame the parents, teachers and school boards.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  250. John Stuart

    It is quite obvious that the adults are not paying attention to proper nutritional schemes that are necessary for proper growth and wellness.

    Most adults just conveniently forget that from childhood to adulthood, children have to be well nourished and be given the opportunity to engage in physical activities in order for them to develop into strong adolescents that can chose college careers, work or chose to serve the country with outstanding valor.

    Show me how any country actively prepares and treats its young people well, I will certainly show you a formidable and successful country in the years to come.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  251. Pamela holt

    Foley,al. It says that maybe the same leaders of our government who sends our men off to illegal wars , should start looking into that joke of our food overseers, the FDA, and see if they can find out whether the same chemicals and additves used in our food, not to mention what is being fed to the cows and chickens in order to make them grow faster and bigger, is making our youth grow bigger . I have definitely seen these changes taking place, together.it seems that there is nothing that can" t be sold or bought, the lives and futures of our children and our country, for the sake of a buck. I cry for the loss of our future...

    April 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  252. Chuck in Jasper Georgia

    Loren, as a RETIRED military man I can say you are wrong. There is no difference between being fit for military service or fit for combat. They are one in the same. Verbage does not change the facts. The first job or mission of anyone putting on a uniform is to fight. Certainly there are speciality fields and specialty jobs but everyones first job is to fight. If you are not fit and can't perform in that capacity you are not fit for service. Period.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  253. Amanda

    Everyone – the parents. students, school administrators, local, state, and federal governments – is to blame. Our society has put "cheap and easy" over "natural and healthy" for way too long. From the mother choosing chicken tenders and soda over protein and veg, to the school administrators choosing pizza and chocolate milk over balanced meals, to our government subsidizing corn and aiding in the industrialization of food into processed corn goods, our society as a whole has fallen over the edge. We need to get back to a balanced, more natural, sustainable way of life – even if it costs us a few dollars at the grocery store. It will save us massive amounts in healthcare savings, environmental savings, and the emotional heartache of obesity – as well as, it seems, strengthening our national defense.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  254. Jerry L. Rhodes

    I don't recall that being fat was disqualifying for a person when they were drated into military service. Conditioning will take care of the body fat. It is called Basic Training.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  255. kevin

    Things have changed! Back in my day all we had to do to avoid military service was go to Canada. Now you have to spend years and years working on your physique and spending mass amounts of money at fast food joints.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  256. steve- virginia beach

    When 75% of our youth are obese, high school dropouts, and/or crimminals it says that we need to resume holding parents accountable for their children's welfare and behavior.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  257. Karmyn

    Hi Jack, Schools don't even want kids playing tag in the playgrounds anymore...they might get hurt ! In other words : Do nothing for which an insurance co. may be involved. ... TV is safe, as are Video games ... a kid can just sit, eat and play without moving their blob ... uh, body along.
    I 'm glad I was a tomboy growing up ... at 65, & 50 yrs of type-1 diabetes,I am convinced that the way to fight the big O is EXERCISE & good eating habits at home and in the schools... & take that insurance shadow away!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  258. Theresa McL

    I call the 18-24 year old men in this country "The Lost Boys".... aside from having weight issues that they probably suffer from because their "working parents" were more likely to opt for TV and video games versus "hanging out" which was likely the only other option...the schools don't offer much anymore as far as sports, music or arts are concerned...at least not without a cost....this coupled with the fact that our police departments are required to meet quotas rather than "lead and protect" our young people.....they are targeted as a source of revenue...I mean really....boys will be boys...now their indiscretions are criminal records.....keeping them from not only military service but many jobs as well....what a bunch of old hypocrits we are....like we;re so perfect...where would some of us be if today's rules applied when we were younger....makes you think...huh? .

    April 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  259. Steven in Santa Monica

    people make bad decisions about their health because they dont know or they dont care, they raise their kids with these same bad habits, and often never teach them any better, schools have an opportunity to speak to every kid in America, to tell them (often for the first time) that you should stretch every morning, that even a few push ups when you wake up will make you feel better all day, that lighter foods will make you feel more energetic and that being in shape will not only help self-esteem but has specific and real effects on mood, productivity and improves your general sense of well-being. many kids will ignore this information, will eat fast food and be lazy, but later in their lives when they dont feel so immortal, and they want to improve themselves, they'll remember what they learned, we owe it to them to provide them with the information, at least once in their lives

    April 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  260. Mikel Spencer

    As a former Army Recruiter, I can tell you that this report is right on the money. Not only is the targeted market (young people between the ages of 18-27) overweight, but very out of touch with real world issues, and frankly, not very smart. Many applicants fail to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test (ASVAB), have illegal drugs in their system, and have no desire to do any physical activity whatsoever. This "ME" generation is scary...Now, and looking into the future, is a scary proposition in manning and equipping our armed forces with quality fighters soldiers, airman, sailors and marines.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  261. Roger Evangelista

    Jack – are you suggesting that we should raised our children with a regimen of diet and exercise; with the ultimate goal of providing the Army with a soldier? The problem Jack is our political leaders almost always find ways to lead us to a war, mostly by deception – from Vietnam to Afghanistan . We must use our Armed Forces judiciously and stop using them as an instrument of our foreign policy. High technology weapons also reduces the number of personnel needed to fight war. The drones deployed in Pakistan is an example of this.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  262. Steve

    There's a lot more than physical fitness that will keep someone out of the military. People without high school educations, accessive drug usage, gang affiliation, etc. will keep more than 3/4 out of the military.
    We need parents that are actively involved in their childrens lives that set a standard, rather than trying to respect their rights. We need schools that have teachers that are also actively involved that will address concerns, before they turn into large problems. And we need post school activities, that get people away from the TV, away from drugs and away from gangs.
    Yet a majority of our states are cutting funding for schools that covers 2 of the 3 requirements named. We're going to be in the hurt locker a lot sooner than 20 years, if we don't re-prioritize education in America.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  263. John Hix

    Mandatory military service after high school will get them in shape if they run basic the way they did when I went. European countrys had a mandatory 18 months that all serve unless they send in a postcare claiming co status, then they serve in another form for their country. My generation attended a public school where ketchup was not a vegetable and the lunch was usually straight from the farm. This nutrition program was far more healthy than what kids eat now and we didn't have fast food. Play period was a full hour outside and immunizations were done by the school nurse. I blame the modern school system for the education that has made the kids too fat to fight.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  264. tommy

    I always thought thats what Big Brother wanted. Keep us under control by offering us all kinds of home entertainment to insure that the ones in the outside world are all suspect. So we watch TV, play games, surf the internet and expect our pizza to be delivered on time. If this is considered the norm, then where does the blame lie?

    April 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  265. ElizaBeth

    Lose weight or lose wars. Survival of the fittest will decide.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  266. Noe

    It really doesn't help that we have begun to take out physical education in school. We are so concerned about test scores on standardized test we don't teach our kids anything. No wonder we as a country is getting fat

    April 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  267. Laura from Boston

    Our overweight/obesity problem is also what drives up health care costs! We can kill two birds with one stone and save ourselves a lot of money. Another piece of the study made a great point that we accept the recruits and spend money on training but at the end of the day they can't pass the physical so we lose a trained soldier ($$$$). And to the woman who made the comment that one in ten soldiers see combat so they don't all need to be combat ready- but doesn't it benefit everyone, themselves included, if they weren't obese?

    April 21, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  268. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugervile Texas

    We've supersized ourselves to defeat.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  269. Mike in Scottsdale

    Whatever happened to the military taking the youth and making them men?

    I mean really, they get stress passes. When it gets to rough give one to your superior and get some time off. This is the military wars are stressful.

    Perhaps the way to fix this issue is to have every person have to do service in the military as teens so they will get in shape.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  270. Greg - TN

    America needs you, Jack LaLanne!

    April 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  271. Whitt

    I believe the Simpson have gotten it right once again.

    'The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots'

    We will need less and less actual soldiers and use more and more technologically advanced machines. Physical strength and endurance are at an all-time requirement low for political power.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  272. lynnej in nc

    It means that the entertainment is in the house. Why go out and play football, baseball or basketball when it is available to play on the pc or the video game? Add in the highly processed foods eaten while playing these games, no wonder the kids are fat.

    April 21, 2010 at 6:49 pm |