Retired Military Leaders Set Sights On Colorado Obesity

Rear Adm. (Ret.) Chris Colvin: "100% of Colorado schools are now serving healthier meals. Retreat is not an option"

A new report has retired generals and an admiral claiming a new enemy: obesity in Colorado. As the title of the report from nonprofit Mission: Readiness makes clear, the retired leaders worry Coloradans are becoming "Too Fat, Frail and Out-of-Breath to Fight."

70 percent of young adults in the state don’t qualify for the military. Obesity also is the number one medical reason they can’t enlist.

Extra weight is also an issue for those already in the service. The report says obesity-related health problems cost the military more than $1.5 billion a year.

The former commanders are taking a three-point, tactical approach to the problem in Colorado. The report calls for neighborhoods that encourage physical activity and for schools to prioritize both healthy meals and physical education.

“The bad news hits us on two levels: first, many young people are shut out of military service because they are overweight and physically unfit, and second, musculoskeletal injuries prevent a truly alarming number of active duty personnel from being deployed," said General Renuart, former Commander of U.S. Northern Command.

"The good news is that we know what Colorado’s policymakers and communities can do to solve these problems.”

On the national level, Mission: Readiness wants Congress to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act with changes that target unhealthy foods and practices in U.S. schools.