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April 21st, 2010
08:00 AM ET

School lunches called national security threat

(CNN) – School lunches have been labeled a number of things: High-calorie, unhealthy, fattening, gross. But a threat to national security?

A group of retired military officers says millions of kids are too overweight to join the military. They're now calling for a bill that would make school lunches healthier.

We were joined on Wednesday's American Morning by retired Air Force Lt. General Norman Seip, a member of the executive advisory council of "Mission: Readiness." He testified on Capitol Hill about the report, "Too Fat to Fight."


Filed under: Health • Military
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. L. Phillips

    D. Hanson is right. As an employee in the school setting for over 16 yrs. he is correct about what is served at schools. The junk is there as an option along with the meat loaf, green beans, etc.; however, the majority of students choose the "junk". We run out of 'chicken nuggets' everyday, and the students complain to the point of wanting to report it to the principal!
    When I was in school, granted 50 yrs. ago–we had fresh foods, homemade vegetable soup, foods cooked from 'scratch'. Now all the food is pre-cooked, frozen, trucked into the school and heated, not cooked for the kids. There is nothing healthy about this food.
    While it is true that it is the parents responsibility to properly feed their children, with the economy the way it is now, most kids are getting their main meals (breakfast and lunch) from schools! The only hot meal some kids get is from school, so it is the duty of the schools to make sure that kids are getting at least 2 healthy meals per day! How about a sausage on a stick wrapped in a pancake? That's what is offered for breakfast, or a packaged muffin, pancakes, etc.
    It is cheaper by not using fresh foods and cooking from 'scratch', which is the reason that most parents don't cook meals at home-so what's the difference? Don't blame parents and say they need to cook meals at home because it's cheaper and quicker, when the schools are actually doing the same thing for the same reasons at the detriment of the health of our children!
    Oh, and don't get me started on teachers bribing kids to behave, or get good grades with candy!! That needs to be stopped too!

    April 24, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  2. D. Hanson

    Pizza, french fries, hot dogs and chips offered in school lunch rooms, everyday. What kid wouldn't pick pizza and fries over meatloaf and green beans? They didn't serve pizza, etc. when I attended school; your choice was whatever was on the menu. I entered military service in 1972; the mess hall didn’t offer pizza, fries, and hot dogs, on a daily basis. Your choice was whatever was on the menu, no soft drinks, pizza, hot dogs or fries in the mess hall back then either. Get rid of the junk food in the school lunch rooms and the mess halls and increase PT.

    April 23, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  3. Dana

    It doesn't just effect the military or health, but the economy and upward mobility. The military turned down 120,000 applicants for the army because of obesity. A lot of lower income kids go into the military to pay for college in order to move up in society. Many are on the school lunch program. So if they get mainly starch like bread and pasta in schools and get fat, it means that military/ college option is gone for them. It means more poor people staying poor and fewer paying taxes to aid the economy. Watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on tv. It's incredible.

    April 23, 2010 at 2:24 am |
  4. Kim

    Its not just the lunches its the food in general, the problem however with school lunches is that they want to cut costs and therefore offer crappy food with refined carbs and loaded with sugar. Its different than in the past with things like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. And it isn't just the carbs; of course children are going to be overweight because unless you're feeding your kids organic meats and dairy they are ingesting antibiotics and hormones given to animals to make them grow at swifter rates.

    April 22, 2010 at 6:58 am |
  5. Ian

    I think this is yet another way to NOT place the blame for fat kids where it belongs, i.e. with the parents. If you want to address the national crisis of childhood obesity, figure out a way to educate parents about their duty to feed their children well, and the need for parents to get their children moving rather than to let them sit all day.

    April 21, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  6. Howard

    It's not only the school lunches, I ate them and so did millions of people. we had our sweets, mystery meat and so on. I stayed fit and gave my kids healthy food that wasn't pre packaged or fast food, and had them swim, year round on teams play lacrosse, and other aerobic sports. It was tough getting them to all their meets and games but worth having them be healthy. they are in their 20's and still swim and work out. The problem is the adults are lazy. Moms that don't want to cook and get fast food for diner, dads that are sedentary and don't get their kids enrolled in activities. It's no accident that 60%of adults are over weight, so the apple dosen't fall far from the tree. My son told me that he committed to exercise because he saw me do it. It's time for all the fat and lazy parents to get off their butts and become a positive role model for kids. Don't blame the schools for what the parents are not doing.

    April 21, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  7. Howard

    It's not only the school lunches, I ate them and so did millions of people. we had our sweets, mystery meat and so on. I stayed fit and gave my kids healthy food that wasn't pre packaged or fast food, and had them swim, year round on teams play lacrosse, and other aerobic sports. I was tough getting them to all their meets and games but worth having them be healthy. they are in their 20's and still swim and work out. The problem is the adults are lazy. Moms that don't want to cook and get fast food for diner, dads that are sedentary and don't get their kids enrolled in activities. It's no accident that 60%of adults are over weight, so the apple dosen't fall far from the tree. My son told me that he committed to exercise because he saw me do it. It's time for all the fat and lazy parents to get off their butts and become a positive role model for kids. Don't blame the schools for what the parents are not doing.

    April 21, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  8. Jerry and Deloris Gray

    I don't think that it is the responsibility of the school to see that the children are not obese. Where are the parents? That is what they are supposed to be doing. The school is a place to learn. Yes they need to know how to eat the right things, but the biggest part of that is for the parents to take care of. Put some responsibility back on them and not the school.
    Also let the obese into the military and they won't be obese anymore.
    Thank you

    April 21, 2010 at 9:35 am |
  9. Sue Morowski

    Some one should check into government issue foods that the schools are feeding our kids !!!!

    April 21, 2010 at 8:44 am |