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Unhealthy School Lunches a National Security Threat

There are many things that our nation worries about in protecting our freedoms. But, according to a U.S. military group, there’s a national security threat that many of us are probably not thinking about.

A group of retired military officers has targeted school lunches as a serious threat to U.S. security. School lunches have contributed to making our country’s youth so obese that fewer of them can meet the physical fitness standards of our military. And, that is putting recruitment efforts in serious jeopardy.

“When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice,” says retired Navy Rear Admiral James Barnett Jr., a member of the officers group. He picked out the year 2030 as the year where national security is “absolutely dependent” on the reversal of child obesity rates.

While all of the branches of the military are currently meeting recruiting calls, Barnett is worried that could change if the obesity trend isn’t reversed.

You may be surprised to know that this isn’t the first time that the military has gotten involved in a debate over school lunches. But, last time, the military had the opposite problem. During World War II, military leaders reported that many of their recruits were rejected because of stunted growth and inadequate nutrition. After the war, military leaders pushed Congress to establish the national school lunch program so children would grow up healthier. Oh, the irony.

“This is the future of our Army we are looking at when we talk about these 17- to 24-year-olds,” says U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s Mark Howell. “The sad thing is a lot of them want to join but can’t.”

The current group of military brass is urging Congress to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages. And, there is a school lunch bill that is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate. It would establish healthier options for all foods in schools, including in vending machines. The legislation would spend an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years for nutrition programs.

Also read: School Lunches Don’t Have to be Junk and How to Prepare Healthy School Lunches

April 22nd, 2010

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(Page 1 of 1, 5 total comments)


This is a good way to learn what we need. But another thing is that kids usually eat un-healthily when there parents arn't around. It's a way to be sneeky and be able to eat un-healthy food your parents wouldn't usually recommend. I don't think that the kids will tell the truth when they get home so always ask them what they ate.

posted Dec 4th, 2010 8:45 pm


For a lot of children, they do eat breakfast and lunch at school. So 2/3 of their meals are coming from school for the majority of the year, and this influences their food choices outside of the school. Which means when 2/3 of their meals are fried, processed, junk food, and their parents offer them something healthier, they're far more likely to decline it. Agreed with Jason, parents and schools need to share the blame here. Parents to do be speaking up and demanding higher quality food, just like they would education, in the schools; Schools need to make fueling not just feeding our youth a priority. Affordability becomes a question too, Jen. Many American school children are on free or reduced-cost school lunches. They can get a full lunch or breakfast at school for less than a dollar, no way they can pack a meal for that price. It's unfortunate, but the situation is that these school meals are a primary meal source for many, many children.

posted Apr 23rd, 2010 2:26 pm


jfonderhide - Can't parents and public schools both share the blame? This news doesn't exonerate parents, just shows the problems that school food can cause.

posted Apr 23rd, 2010 1:37 pm


I think parents could help by sending their kids with healthy lunches for sure (easy stuff like tuna salad sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, leftovers like chicken pot pie - i found a healthy version at a site called robynwebb - etc.), but i think it's helpful for the schools to be more aware of what they are making. parents too.

posted Apr 23rd, 2010 8:20 am


Kids only attend school 180 days a year and eat lunch, not breakfast, lunch and dinner. When are parents going to start taking responsibility for their childrens health. STOP BLAMING PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR BAD PARENTING!

posted Apr 22nd, 2010 6:39 pm


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