The threats that America’s military face are numerous.

As a Heritage member, you enable one of the most talented groups of national security experts to research and address the critical issues facing our nation today.

Politico recently quoted Heritage’s Director of National Defense, General Tom Spoehr, in an article on how America’s growing obesity will have a direct impact on our military strength.

General Spoehr points out that chronic obesity is greatly diminishing the ability for people to join the military–even if they wanted to.

In the article, General Spoehr states:

“We all have this image in our mind of this hearty American citizen, scrappy, that can do anything,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, co-author of a new Heritage Foundation paper on the military recruiting challenge titled The Looming National Security Crisis. “That image we keep in our heads is no longer accurate.”

“Obesity and the percentage of people overweight in the country has just skyrocketed in the last 10 to 15 years,” he added in an interview. “Asthma is going up. High school graduation rates are still just barely acceptable and in some big cities they are miserable. Criminality is also not going away. We have to face the reality that these things in some cases are getting worse, not better.”

Read why this growing obesity crisis is such a threat to our national security >>

Heritage also hosted an event last year titled, A looming national security crisis: young Americans unable to join the military, where current and former military officers discussed the impact obesity will have on our nation’s military.

You can watch the event below:

Do you agree with General Spoehr’s analysis? What do you think should be done about the obesity crisis? 

Comments (12)

Martin Kronmann - March 2, 2018

I don’t know what can be done if a person doesn’t want to slim/firm up.One of my buddies quit school in his sophmore year and joined the Air Force (1955). He was overweight but when he came home from basic training, he was trim and fit – it amazed me. Too bad the draft was discontinued. I think it would make a difference in todays youth. An alternate indoctrination to todays liberal educators.

Sharon Pelletier - March 2, 2018

Very interesting; very true; and very sad. There are three points that were identified as factors: low cognitive skills (education), lacking moral values, and lacking physical fitness/nutrition. The younger generation spend more time on their phones, pads, and computers than participating with others in physical activities. Bring back recess and the Presidential Fitness Program (acknowledge that no one leads from behind!). Bring back Home Economics and Civics into the Educational System. Learn to Do by doing.
What happened to the family planning of a meal? What happened to chores given to set the table and manners at meals? What happened to eating and meeting at the dinner table to discuss the day’s events?

This is a cultural event that starts with families and can be remedied. Some times the young adults seek going into the service to obtain that “family” event. An inner spark to motivate the young comes from the family. If they are not motivated or held accountable for their actions or lack there of, then we (all of us!) suffer the consequences of an ill prepared military.

Wiliam Coates - March 2, 2018

Add widespread drug use to the list, too. I’m afraid that there is no escape from the Tytler Cycle, that a collapse and restart is inevitable. Government will not lead by example, and cannot impose discipline on an unwilling population. Deficit spending will probably bring international financial consequences and a worthless dollar.

Timothy Parkinson - March 2, 2018

Prayer was outlawed in school and God was kicked out of the public square, you reap what you sow. The Constitution is rarely even mentioned let alone it’s principles taught.The dept. of uneducation is just an excuse for dumbing down and brainwashing. YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW. Thank You

Tim Brady - March 3, 2018

2 very good comments,also could Obama’s giveaway programs got a lot of people hooked on fatting junk foods that will eventually right itself when America actually has full employment?

Pamela Harrison - March 3, 2018

•Eliminate genetically modified foods, as well as sodas from school meals.
•Return to a physical education program at every grade level, with exemptions only for those in managed and sufficiently physical sports programs.
You’ll see obesity decline and overall general health improve.
•As long as we teach kids they evolved from/are like animals, and they can eliminate unwanted human beings from the womb, or whenever they are deemed inconvenient, there will be no value or sanctity of human life; no reason to exercise self-discipline or self-control.
We have allowed the truth to be hidden about creation and our Creator. May God extend His mercy and allow us time to restore these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and have value. So help us God!

Sharon H. Learned - March 3, 2018

As someone who is bordering on obesity, and at 71, I know how absolutely miserable it is to try and lose weight when you have diabetes with a combination of other illnesses. You can’t even put a banana in your mouth without counting carbs! It becomes so tiring. And then there’s the cost of the insulin…

Chester Turner - March 3, 2018

II have heard recently that the wealth will become the demise of any great nation, which begins at the family. God instituted the family from the beginning and now we have a government telling us what a family is and also what they believe food is GMO. Are children are coming out of school with out meaning, no morality, and lack of purpose.

Duane Bishop - March 4, 2018

Mental ability is enhanced by exercise and physical fitness. Millions of Americans – and our nation – could benefit tremendously if the population were to trim down, and get physically fit. Illness would decrease, and just maybe, civility would increase when people feel better about themselves.

Peter Welles - March 4, 2018

Perhaps setting up camps, not quite boot camps, designed to build self confidence and coincidentally help those who are obese through diet and exercise. In a confined environment, those who want to overcome obesity will have the opportunity to do so.

nancy jones - March 5, 2018

physical ed./modern dance is one of my 2 majors to teach;;;;;;;;;;;;I watched the decline of importance for pe ed. in our teens, over 40 yrs. overweight kids were rare when 4 yrs pe requirement was in all high schools, the dropped to 2 yrs., then could be replaced with band, etc. and now few schools even care! It was only a matter of time before the nation could care less! both of my parents were pe teachers and coaches, so we were lucky;;;;;;;;;we ate right, worked every day, and no drugs, booze, oe smoking;;;;;;;;;;;believe me, at almost 80 yrs. old, it has really made a difference! parents have to role model at home, the teachers, but both of these groups are heavy or obese as well, so;;;;;;;;;;;here we are;;;;;;;;;;I definitely sympathize with the services who try to recruit people for our country, but like so many liberal issues good health went right down with everything else, from neglect!

Iris Maurer - March 9, 2018

People eat too much fast food, and restaurants vie with each other as to who can serve the biggest portions. This encourages overeating. MacDonalds encourages overeating by offering to supersize very cheaply.

Maybe give restaurants some kind of special consideration for serving what used to be normal portions years ago.

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