A new report says almost half of Tennessee’s young adults are too obese to qualify for military service. The study, by a group of retired military officials, warned members of Congress that the nationwide trend is a threat to national security.
In Tennessee, it found that 45 percent of all 18 to 24-year-olds are too overweight or obese to be taken by any of the armed services.
Lieutenant General Norman Seip says the numbers show that young adults don’t seem to be getting healthier. His fear is that it will be increasingly difficult for the military to recruit the people it needs.
“Ten years ago today only one state had 40 percent or more of its young adults overweight. Today, that number is 39. Since 1995, the proportion of recruits rejected during their physical exams because they are overweight has increased by 70 percent.”
The retired leaders are members of the non-profit group Mission Readiness. They are calling on Congress to get junk food and soda out of all of the nation’s vending machines and cafeterias.
Tennessee has begun targeting school lunches and vending machines – it ranked in the top ten among states last year for limiting the amount of unhealthy options in schools.
Reported by Sara Sciammacco.