It sounds like an Onion News piece, but there is a story up at ABC News called, "School Lunches Are a Threat to National Security, Retired Officials Say." A group called Mission Readiness: Military Leaders for Kids, claims that they have identified a
dramatic increase of obesity among young adults age 17 to 24 – a trend that is reducing the pool of healthy young adults available for military service.They argue that healthier school lunches are needed in order to reduce problems finding physically fit military recruits. I find this line of argument both ridiculous and dangerous.
First of all, despite the supposed problems getting physically fit recruits, we seem to have had little problem filling the ranks of the armed forces. This appears to be a manufactured "crisis" based on nothing. Second, whenever someone advocates more government manipulation of the population, let alone children, for reasons of national security, that should be a cause for alarm. Consider this statement.
The reason school lunch reform is so key, Moore added, is that school is an environment in which "we can get to kids" and influence what they eat. At home, it's much harder to change these habits, she said."We can get to kids." I don't want the government deciding what my kids need to eat in order to make them good military recruits. How about if schools just provide a decent, balanced selection of food and let it go at that?
I also question another assumption behind this whole idea. Is there any evidence that school lunches have gotten unhealthier over the years? Were school lunches ten, twenty or thirty years ago healthier than they are now? I recall eating all sorts of junk food items when I was in school. Why are school lunches suddenly a big issue?