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?


Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar • U.S. Army • US Military • US Obesity
January 12th, 2009
04:01 PM ET

More Than a Third of Americans are Obese

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There are now more obese Americans than those who are merely overweight.

A new Federal report says that 34% of Americans are now obese.

A new Federal report says that 34% of Americans are now obese as compared to the 32.7% who are overweight. More than one third of all Americans, 72 million people, are obese.

Among the objectives set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services for the year 2010 is to reduce obesity to less than 15% of the adult population. To say they've got their work cut out for them is a gross understatement. It's now 2009 and the numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

The rising rates of obesity aren't new. As a nation, we've been getting fatter and fatter for years. Health officials have warned us that obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses. The message is clear, eat healthy and exercise. But we don't listen and rather than shedding the pounds people are putting more on.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that more than a third of Americans are obese?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health • US Obesity
August 7th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

Study: All adults could be overweight in 40 years

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/07/art.burger.fries.gi.jpg caption="A new study says that by 2030, 86% of adults will be overweight, with 51% obese."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Put down that burger and fries and consider this: a new study says that every American adult could be overweight in 40 years. We're actually not so far away now with two-thirds of the population already overweight.

Researchers say that if the trends of the last 30 years hold up… by 2030, 86% of adults will be overweight, with 51% obese. By 2048, they predict all adults could be overweight.

Certain groups – like African-Americans and Mexican-Americans – are expected to suffer the most from weight issues. In fact, all black women and almost all Mexican-American men could be overweight in less than 30 years.

And it's not just the scales we'd be tipping. The study shows that health care costs related to all this weight will double each decade, reaching $957 billion in about 20 years. Or even more.

Some experts doubt that all of us will be obese or overweight in 40 years, but they agree the problem is getting worse. Others say it just might happen if Americans keep eating more and moving around less. Researchers call for major efforts to improve lifestyles in this country along with social changes, like healthier food choices and making neighborhoods more pedestrian-friendly.

Here’s my question to you: What should Americans do so that all of us aren’t overweight in 40 years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: US Obesity