WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Accessions Command  and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation  have partnered to counter obesity among young people, which limits the number of candidates qualified for military duty.
A recent USAAC study reports that 29.3% of Americans aged 17-24 are unqualified for military service wholly or partly because they are overweight.
The USAAC and the HWCF signed a memorandum of understanding to support joint communications, outreach programs, forums, workshops, media activities and other programs to help fight what Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commander of the USAAC, describes as a national security crisis.
“We face the challenge today that 3.7 million or 11.3% of 17-24-year-olds are qualified for military service, except for being overweight,” Freakley said during a press conference. “That’s grown from 10% in three years.”
Of the 32.6 million Americans in the age group, just three in 10 qualify for service with the remainder not eligible due to health, education and/or conduct.
The HWCF is a coalition of 100 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, trade associations, NGOs, sporting goods and insurance companies, restaurants and a professional sports association, focusing on activities in the schools, the workplace and the marketplace to promote healthy weight among Americans. The USAAC is the first member of its kind.
“For the first time, a military organization has entered into a formal strategic alliance with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation,” said David Mackay , chief executive officer of Kellogg and chairman of the HWFC.