Do we need a “military readiness” crisis to address the nutritional needs of our kids?

I guess it’s time to pay serious attention to the horrendous state of our kids’ health; the military brass say there’s a crisis.  According to “Mission: Readiness,” a national group of retired admiral and generals, 72% of 17 to 24-year-olds in the U.S. can’t qualify for military service for a range of reasons, but one of the biggest is poor health due to poor nutrition.  And Mississippi – ironically one of the most martial states in the nation – tops the list of ineligibility at a whopping 76%.

The group’s report, “Improving Childhood Nutrition in Mississippi,” is disturbing in many respects.  Two of the most striking – 1. Neither the problem nor a major part of the solution – provide children access to fresh and healthy food, advise the generals – is new.  Research conducted in this School of Social Work by Dr. Jerome Kolbo, funded by the Mississippi Center 4 Health Policy, has collected and reported pertinent data and findings for years.  2.  We shouldn’t need to have former military leaders worried about armed services “readiness” urge us to act to improve the health of our increasingly unhealthy young people.

Looming over all the data, from whatever the source, is this question – When will we get serious about addressing the policy, market, and propaganda (aka advertising) obstacles to meaningful and effective action?  What will it take?


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