Viewpoint: New Farm Bill

Congressman Sanford Bishop says our national security hinges on the health of our nation's children and he's worried that provisions in the new farm bill jeopardize both.

Under the bill, school districts will be able to request exemption waivers from healthy school lunch standards.

Bishop says decreasing national health could render our nation too fat to fight in the future.

He cites statistics that show that 75% of young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unable to join the military because they are medically or physically unfit, are too poorly educated, or have disqualifying criminal records.

Every year, the military discharges over 1,200 first-term enlistees before their contracts are up due to weight problems. The military must then recruit and train their replacements at a cost of $75,000 per person, totaling roughly $90 million annually.

This pales in comparison to the estimated $1.1 billion per year that the Department of Defense spends on medical care associated with excess fat and obesity through TRICARE.

We agree with the Congressman that healthy school lunch standards should remain in place.

It's a critical starting point in fighting our nation's obesity epidemic.

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