Sunday, November 9, 2014

Generals say obesity is a national-security issue, and the main medical reason 73% of Ky. young adults can't join the service

"Obesity is the leading medical reason why 73 percent of our young adults cannot qualify for military service" in Kentucky, two former state adjutants general write in The Courier-Journal. They endorse the Obama administration's nutrition standards for school meals.

"We must turn the tide on the obesity epidemic by instilling good eating and exercise habits from an early age. Good nutrition starts at home, but many kids get up to half of their daily calories at school so it just makes sense to ensure they’re eating healthfully there, too," write Maj. Gens. Michael Davidson and Allen Youngman.

"Unfortunately, there is a misguided effort afoot to enable schools to retreat from these improved nutrition standards," they write. "The move is driven by complaints that some students are having trouble adjusting to the healthier offerings, and that some schools are struggling to procure healthier ingredients and the necessary equipment for preparing the new meals. In response, the USDA is offering significant flexibility to these schools. They permanently removed caps on proteins because of the challenges some schools were facing, and offered flexibility on rules regarding whole grain pasta. They also extended the grant period for funds to help schools meet the new standards, and are providing workshops to help schools that are struggling learn what works from those that are succeeding.