Obesity A National Security Issue?

Michelle Obama has taken on the issue of childhood obesity and while this is certainly an issue that effects many children one has to wonder where it becomes an issue for the government. What children eat and how they are fed is a matter for parents, not the nannies in government.

Obama said that obesity is a national security issue:

Military leaders report that obesity is now one of the most common disqualifiers for military service. Economic experts tell us that we’re spending outrageous amounts of money treating obesity-related conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. And public health experts tell us that the current generation could actually be on track to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. Politics Daily

I don’t know who these military leaders are because they are unnamed and no information other than the claim is given. The branches of service have different weight standards and obesity is certainly an issue that can cause disqualification but most services will take people who are overweight because basic training usually gets them in shape and helps them lose weight. A waiver might be required but those who are otherwise healthy might get the waiver and later be released if unable to shed the weight.

Claiming it to be a national security issue is shady at best. If national security is the issue more waivers will be issued and the recruits who are obese will be on a more strenuous program to get them in compliance.

There are a lot of things that disqualify people from military service including use of Ritalin. This is certainly an issue that is widespread because America drugs its children with Ritalin more than any country in the world. The list of things that can be disqualifying is quite large and some reasons are more common than others.

The Military Personnel Procurement Manual lists the prescribed use of Ritalin as a “permanent disqualifier” for joining the military.

In any event, none of them is a national security issue any more than being too tall or too short to join is a national security issue.

It might be wise for the administration to avoid the hype and stick to real issues that actually are a concern for national security.

Like say, allowing people on watch lists to board aircraft with bombs in their underwear.

Big Dog

Gunline

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10 Responses to “Obesity A National Security Issue?”

  1. Adam says:

    Well, this is indeed a big problem you would probably support if it were Laura Bush trumpeting it because of course Republicans are just so much better for the troops.

    Retired Military Brass Support First Lady’s Call to Reduce Child Obesity, Improve Nutrition:

    General Johnnie E. Wilson, U.S. Army (Ret.), and Lieutenant General Norman Seip, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), said Tuesday that preventing child obesity is a matter of national security, noting that being overweight has become the Number 1 reason why potential recruits are unable to enlist in the armed services. The generals’ comments came in support of First Lady Michelle Obama, who announced a new national campaign to combat child obesity.

    The generals added that 27 percent of prospective recruits are not able to join the military because they are overweight, making weight problems the single biggest factor limiting the pool of potential recruits.

    Or there is this older article. Pentagon reports U.S. troop obesity doubles since 2003:

    The number of troops diagnosed as overweight or obese has more than doubled since the start of the Iraq war, yet another example of stress and strains of continuing combat deployments, according to a recent Pentagon study.

    But I guess when 27 percent of prospective recruits are not able to join then that’s no big deal because we’re not in need of more troops anyway, are we? It’s not like the branches have had to lower their goals over the years in order to say they’ve met them, right? Oh, they have?

    “It might be wise for the administration to avoid the hype and stick to real issues that actually are a concern for national security.”

    Well, First Lady’s have always had pet projects that are separate from the work of the administration. I think it’s good to keep that in mind when you try to make it seem like the president is diverting resources to fighting a made up problem instead of fighting terrorists on air planes.

  2. victoria says:

    I read this comment over at IMAO and couldn’t have said it better myself:
    “Not to worry – when Barry finishes heaping debt on the fat little brats they’ll be living on air and rainwater.”

  3. Barbara says:

    I don’t know why people can’t see that this is just another step the government is using to take over our lives. One way they can do this is to take over control of our children which in some ways they have already done. If you think this can’t happen, then just wait and see.

  4. Big Dog says:

    Well Adam, having been involved in a few of these physicals I know that overweight people are granted waivers to join because the military believes that they will lose the weight in basic training. They have to be otherwise healthy and apply for the waiver. If they do not then it is counted as a rejection but they can apply.

    I do not see it as a national security issue unless you say Ritalin use is because it is overprescribed and results in DQ from enlistment.

    Are we going to call all problems that can be corrected a national security issue? It is a health issue, not a national security one.

    I beg to differ with the general on this one.

    If we take this approach then not having a draft is a national security issue.

    Don’t worry though. Even though your Dems always propose the draft it will not happen and if it does you can just get fat and be DQ’d.

    Want to bet if there is ever a draft they keep fat people and work the weight off them?

    • Adam says:

      Are 27% of people rejected for ritalin use? You can try and find a second source for how many it is that are being rejected for weight related issues if you want. Are there even solid stats kept for rejection of service? Surely somewhere though it may not be public.

      My father was drafted on the first pass for Vietnam but failed his physical because of high blood pressure. I can see how weight related problems could stretch into many areas of your health causing issues like high blood pressure or obesity.

      I don’t know if I could call it a “national security issue” but to deride Michelle Obama for wanting to work on this when it could benefit the military is just a little partisan of you.

  5. Big Dog says:

    Quite a bit Adam. They will be paying for the debt he (and those before him) have heaped on our children and grandchildren.

    You don’t actually think it will be paid off in our lifetimes, now do you?

  6. UNRR says:

    This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 2/12/2010, at The Unreligious Right

  7. Big Dog says:

    I don’t recall deriding her for wanting to deal with it. I recall saying that childhood obesity was a problem but it was not the government’s job to decide how children eat.

    I also remember deriding her for calling it a national security issue.

    It is a noble cause and as long as it does not involve government intervention in people’s lives then go for it. But it is not a national security issue.

    A young obese person can be otherwise healthy but is at risk for a myriad of diseases like hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. But a young obese person can be healthy enough to get a waiver and lose the weight in basic.