“More than half of 18-to-24-year-olds in Kentucky are overweight or obese — the highest percentage in the nation,” The Courier-Journal‘s Laura Ungar reports. Their weight is not only bad for their health, but limits their ability to serve effectively in the military. (C-J chart)
These findings come from a report called “Too Fat to Fight,” released Wednesday and compiled by Mission: Readiness, whose members are retired generals and other high-ranking military officials concerned about the physical fitness of the services’ recruitment pools. The reports shows 51 percent of young adults in Kentucky were either overweight or obese in 2007-9, up from 38 percent in 1997-99. Nationwide, only about 1 on 4 17-to-24-year-olds were too heavy to serve in the military.
Another report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at what is being done to fight the obesity epidemic in each state, by examining behavioral indicators and environmental factors. The report showed nearly 36 percent of Kentucky students, such as those at Bloom Elementary in Louisville (C-J photo by David R. Lutman), drink at least one soft drink a day, compared to 29.2 percent nationwide. More than 68 percent of Kentucky middle and high schools allow the advertising of unhealthy foods, compared to 49 percent nationwide.
Both reports concluded schools can play a key role in helping children lose weight. “Mission: Readiness urges Congress to help upgrade school equipment such as freezers, ovens and salad bars and train cafeteria workers to prepare meals with fresh ingredients,” Ungar reports. (Read more)