Former Senate Majority Leader: Obesity 'Threatens Our Security as a Nation'

By Christopher Goins | November 29, 2011 | 5:51pm EST

( – Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) says obesity threatens America’s “national security” because many people who join the armed forces cannot pass the required physical tests because they are overweight.

Frist also cited a 2010 study on the problem entitled “Too Fat To Fight."

“Childhood obesity is something much larger than something that just hurts and pulls back and restrains our economic strength. It threatens our security, our national security as a nation,” Frist said on Tuesday at the "Building for a Healthier Future" summit held in Washington, D.C.

“Between 1995 and 2008, over 140,000 potential military recruits failed their entrance physicals, failed them because they were too heavy,” said Frist. “That’s 140,000 young men and women who were motivated enough to enlist but, because of being overweight, could not. They were the ones who wanted to serve their country, who were willing to put themselves in harm’s way, and they were told, ‘No, you’re too heavy to safely be trained.’”

He continued: “We hear the quotations all the time from people who are right on the front line. Retired four star U.S. Army General Johnny Wilson said that childhood obesity, and I quote, ‘has become so serious in this country that military leaders are viewing this epidemic as a potential threat to our national security,’ end quotation.”

Frist then mentioned a report by retired U.S. military leaders that analyzed the effects of obesity on military recruitment. The report called on Congress to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act with several modifications.

The “2010 study was even more direct and it was titled simply, ‘Too Fat To Fight,’” said Frist.

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