Obesity: A national security threat?
January 3rd, 2011
01:02 PM ET

Obesity: A national security threat?

Is the childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S. a threat to national security?

"Oh, yes," said Maj. Gen. Paul Monroe, retired from the U.S. Army.

CNN Radio's Jim Roope talked with Monroe and an Army recruiter to examine the issue. Monroe, with the group Mission: Readiness, released a study saying the obesity rate among children and teens - one in three according to the CDC - is a threat.

"The military found that one in four recruits are not eligible because of weight," he said.

"And not everyone wants to be in the military, and when you reduce it by 25 percent, it's a real problem," Monroe said.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason Montano, an active-duty recruiter with the Army, says he wouldn't go as far as calling childhood obesity a threat to national security, but it is a challenge.

"As recruiters trying to recruit America's force, we have a lot of our kids this day and age that are obese," Montano said.

He says the military does have a program to get obese and overweight kids Army-ready.

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Filed under: Health • Military • Nutrition
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. phil

    Looks like nobody wants to go first on this one, so here I go! he he...I've got a few friends and sevral family members who are obese, along with a few of their children. Some of them struggle with it, going on and off of special diet's, and others whoo believe they were just born that way so they just accept being fat. They rarely eat fruits and vegetables and are pale-skinned. Without sunlight and live greens their bodies simply cannot produce the element needed to scrub fat from their individual cells, and their low-calorie diet's do not provide them with the energy to even want to excercise, let alone actually do it. National security threat? You bet it is. Anyway,...next! he he

    January 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Here's one cure that works for many, not all, and it worked absolutely for me: STOP EATING SUGAR.

      January 3, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |

      dont listen to him.. sugar is you friend.

      January 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DkWallace

    Perhaps someone has written a story on it in the past year, but I don't remember reading about it: a very high proportion of attendees at the Tea Party/Glen Beck rallies were obese. While I cannot quantify this, just take a look at some of those year-in-review photos and all of the overweight people. I noticed it when surfing through notable Teabagger posters and rally signage, it was really quite striking.

    Why bring it up here? I just want to point out a correlation between the security risk posed by these people and mode of living, as presented Jim Roope's CNN post, and their too-often agonistic ideologies. By giving little thought to their diets and lifestyle choices and by their reactionary politics and disloyal opposition that shackles American political processes, I would posit that these obese people are one of the primary reasons why the locus of world power is moving elsewhere. The 21st century will not be the American century if we're weighted, both physically and morally, with these issues.

    January 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tamtam

    Don't worry, when the revolution comes the flab will stop the bullets.

    January 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Frank

    People of the United States,
    Why the U.S. MILITARY is worried about Obese young adults is beyond me.Our Government in it's infinte wisdow put an all volunteer system in place of a draft.This government will never go back to the draft.When I was drafted in 1967 I knew it was coming so I was in shape to go.The government has no one to blame but itself on this issue.Obese young adults in my view will not volunteer into the military.

    January 3, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • oilfeilds

      what about skinny pple???

      January 4, 2011 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bane

    make em do boot twice.

    January 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SAM

    Wow i thought PASSIVE SMOKE was a WORLD WIDE THREAT...Guess not HEY

    January 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. phil

    @Frank...in your view obese young adult's will not volunteer? This news is about a recruiter who says 1 in 4 volunteers are too obese to meet military guidlines. And I have seen many people both young and old who are way overweight wearing uniforms, so this recruiter must be speaking of the very obese. Go to any grocery store and open your eyes. Obesity is an epidemic, and no wonder. As Congress was pointing the finger at ML baseball players for using steroids they were allowing the meat and dairy corporations to use hormones and steroids that make their cattle fatter, and make US fatter as well. (up until the mid 1990s it was illegal) People weren't as fat back in 1967, it's different now Frank.

    January 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      I would like to see the % of Obese Volunteers going in vs the% of Obese volunteers washing out of BC.

      January 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pw

    Video games and computers are making people lazy.

    January 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar

    @pw: Is that right?

    January 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. phil

    @Frank...according to the recruiter cited in this news, the obese never make it to BC, they are culled from the herd so to speak.

    January 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bleh


    January 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. momo

    @ Cesar: no, eating too much food and being lazy makes you fat. a computer does not have the capabilities to make someone fat... the person does.

    January 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MissAnthrope

    A security risk? You betcha.

    January 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. James

    Well, they have mandatory health care. Now they have precedence and can implement mandatory gym memberships. It would fall under the Commerce clause and therefore be legal, according to our government.

    January 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. me

    Think of it this way: Playing black ops all the time, or serving the greatest country on earth. You decide.

    January 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
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