Thursday, February 3, 2011


The Battle Against Obesity

Michelle Obama broadened the battle-front when she brought her war against childhood obesity to the largest U. S. Army training center at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. Fort Jackson’s official mission is to provide the Army with trained, disciplined, motivated and physically fit warriors who espouse the Army's core values. Obama told Army personnel at the Fort that our recruits are too obese and “it’s affecting our ability to protect our freedom.” The first lady’s too-fat-to-fight remarks at Fort Jackson reflect her passion for waging war against childhood obesity in America. “Let’s Move” is the battle-cry of her project that targets America’s obese children who rank number one in the world in fattiness. She asked the military officials to support the program to combat America’s obesity epidemic and told them, “You have to get the whole country behind this.” Ms. Obama’s purpose for coming to Fort Jackson was to determine how the military is dealing with the problem and how solutions might be transferred to the general population. 40 percent of the 129,000 recruits each year are overweight, and only one-quarter of would-be recruits between the ages of 18 and 24 could even get into the military, mostly due to their weight.

To cope with the increasingly corpulent corps the Army has installed a “Go for Green” program, featuring things like switching from soft drinks to a hydration station--whatever that is--and posting nutritional information about cafeteria choices. Kim Milano is the wife of the Fort’s commanding officer and a nutritionist who works to improve the soldiers’ diets and exercise programs. Milan said “A lot of this could be transferred to schools across the country,” as she and Obama visited one of the soldiers’ dining facilities. Lt. General. Mark Hertling, who is the Army’s deputy commander for recruits, said the problem begins when the recruits are kids and spend too much time watching television, using computers and eating fast food. He said today’s youth might be smarter, but they don’t engage in enough physical activities, like playing outside. “ It’s a generational thing,” he said, “and it’s going to be hard to change a whole generation.”

A spoofy solution might be for the First Lady to host a kids’ “Biggest Loser” show with General Hertling and Kim Milano featured as trainers for the fat children. It would get great exposure for her pet project of ending children’s and soldiers’ obesity and could contribute to her husband’s efforts to win a second term. General Hertling would be training the fat kids into shape so they won’t be too fat to fight when they grow up (rather than blow up) and will have the ability to fight to protect our freedom from lean and hungry Al-Qaeda and Taliban warriors.

But Americans have a bigger threat from the fast food industry than the Taliban. According to an in depth report on CBS Evening News in November, the fast food killers spent $30 billion dollars last year on advertising which claimed their products are healthy, with mouth watering visuals of giant Big Macs and Whoppers. Two-thirds of Americans, or more than 190 million, are overweight or obese. Obesity-related diseases are a $147 billion dollar medical burden every year and childhood obesity has tripled over the past thirty years. Nutrition experts predict this could be the first generation in America in over 150 years to have a shortened life expectancy.

The US obesity rate is the highest of any country, while nearly 2 billion people in the world are undernourished according to the UK Government Office for Science.

We not only lead the world in consuming fast foods and obesity rates, we also have a bloated military budget. US defense spending surpasses the next closest country by more than eight times. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that the U.S. military budget accounts for 43 percent of the world’s total military spending. US taxpayers pay for weapons supplied to countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, and South Korea among others. Our defense budget is $720 billion, including the Pentagon base budget, nuclear weapons activities and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Too fat to fight. Bloated bodies—bloated budget. Shape up our soldiers and our children. Reduce the size of the military. “Let’s Move.”


  1. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Sound simple. Burn more calories, consume less calories.


    The more calories you burn the hungrier you get. The hungrier you get, the more you eat, not the less you eat. Hence the problem with maintaining a long term "increased exercise, eat less" program. It is self-defeating.

    Same with the military budget. Sure our defense budget is $720 billion. Bloated. No doubt about it. But a large part of that budget goes to buying military equipment and supplies, either directly by the US or indirectly by countries we give military aid to. All that money spent means JOBS for someone. The money just does not disappear. Well, some of it probably, but it buys stuff. If it buys stuff we make, it creates US jobs.

    Now, could it be better spent and create more jobs. Sure. But what is the immediate effect to the economy if we cut, say $100 or $200 billion, out of the defense budget especially now given our current economy? I see problems. Long term benefits, good. Short term benefits, bad.

    And every State has a piece of the pie. What Congressperson is going to cut defense spending that will put constituents out of work?

    The military-industrial complex has us (and US) by the "short hairs".

  2. As we probably all know our young people today spin far too much time in front of the tv and playing video games and on the couch texting and it goes on ~ not to mention the sugary, high calorie snacks and foods ~~~ and "very little" physical activity. Thanks for posting your concern and awareness.

  3. be active. have fun.

    Find an activity that you enjoy with others, or something that helps clear your head. Your local parks and rec has dozens of opportunities for you and your friends to get into an activity and meet mid week for an additional practice. Adult kickball has become quite the rage! Great fun.

    Also running is the best preventative medicine, I think. This morning on my 6 mile run I was passing doctors office after doctors office and thought if only people would get up and be active they would see that will keep them in good health and away from a costly medical and pharmaceutical industry. $100 pair of shoes every 4 mnths vs. $1,000s in dr.s and rx. I choose running!

    Make the change-then you'll be dropping pounds without stressing and without focusing on it and you'll be drinking water like there was no tomorrow not because you have to drink x number of glasses because Suzy dieter says so but because you know you want to feel good on your run or be x local company in a game of kick ball or softball.

    Make a choice!

    Make it happen!

  4. Actually, it's more about the choices of food than the denial of foods - so says my nutritionist cousin. The goal is to eat well and be satisfied. More protein and carbs; less sugar and fats. Regular exrcise actually decreases appetite; the key is regular. It needs to be health, age appropriate. Running can be very hard on joints and organs; a rapi walk does just as much good with less damage. Whatever, it needs to be sustained over a period of time, which is why swimming and bike riding may not be all that great.

    The picture of that little boy sitting on the couch and watching TV while stuffing his mouth with junk food says it all. He's probably a mirror image of his parents.

  5. Commenting first on Jerry Critter's remarks, I agree with you about eating and exercise. I enjoy eating tasty, nutritious food so much that I work out at least an hour a day usually on a stationary bike (I ride a rode bike sometimes but fear the motor vehicle traffic). I try do 80 push-ups, eighty sit-ups, 80 bicep curls with each arm with a 15 lb. weight and 80 toe-lifts every day.

    Motivation for the rigorous work out schedule comes from being diagnosed with very slow growing prostate cancer.

    If I had my way there wouldn't be any military budget. Did you ever notice how the big corporate and financial interests create money mad bubbles that cause recessions and make unemployment soar. Their solution is to wage war so the unemployed folks can have a job by joining the military. Meanwhile, the war profiteering defense industry", war financiers and the corporations who profit from the natural resources of the counties we invade make out like bandits.

  6. Commenting om Julia Gray's comment:

    Thanks Julia,

    Addiction to electronic devices is prevalent in America as much as addiction to fast foods. Here is a link to a previous post on electronic devices:

  7. Commenting on the comment of anonymous:

    Great information about how you enjoy staying in shape.

    Be active, have fun. Sounds good!


  8. How about making military expenditures "non-profit". That is, companies that make military equipment and/or provide military services do so on a non-profit basis. They charge their expenses, but make NO PROFIT.

    It is their patriotic duty to the US to provide for the military on a non-profit basis.

  9. Thanks for you comment tnlib.

    I agree that walking is probably the best exercise. I keep trying to get Judy to walk outside with me so I want have to just sit there and ride my stationary bike and read and/or watch TV. I would rather be outside checking out what's happening in the neighborhood. Judy says it bothers her scoliosis so I've just about given up on walking, but just might start walking alone.

    The little obese boy does say it all and he could be using his parents as role models for his eating habits. He is an attention getter. That's why we put him in the first illustration.

  10. Jerry Critter,

    If there was no profits in war we wouldn't have a military. War is all about money-making, resources and retribution. War is the dumbest, most stupid thing our species does.

  11. Talking about war, I reackon the "War on Terror" is, and has always been, a Trojan Horse for a "War on Workers".

  12. They go together to and the fat cats purrrr.

  13. On another important issue, I am pissed at how a warmongering plutocracy appears to be in control of the US and is using our tax dollars to kill and maim innocent people while the fat cats get fatter. Rather than secede we should use every non-violent means to "drive the money-changers out of the temple" as FDR so famously freeBaker Street


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