400 billion calories of junk food are being sold in our schools every year.
That’s the equivalent of 2 billion candy bars.
Put them on a scale and they would weigh almost 90 thousand tons. That’ s more than the aircraft carrier Midway.
Put them end-to-end and they could circle the earth more than six times.
Too many schools across America still have vending machines and other venues where children can routinely buy candy, potato chips, cakes, cookies, and sugar-sweetened fruit juices or sports drinks.
All of this junk food in our schools is undermining efforts to reverse a childhood obesity epidemic that threatens the health, the economy, and even the national security of our country.
Being overweight or obese is the leading medical reason why young adults cannot join the military, with 1 in 4 too overweight to enlist. The bottom line is that the armed services must have a sufficient pool of fit young adults qualified to enlist.
The retired generals and admirals of Mission: Readiness strongly support the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s efforts to reduce junk food at school by updating decades-old standards for foods sold in school vending machines and cafeteria snack lines. That is why more than 200 retired generals and admirals signed a letter to Congress in support of the process through which the USDA seeks to update these standards.
Removing the junk food from our schools should be part of comprehensive action, involving parents, school and communities, to help children make healthy food choices.
We cannot succeed in teaching our children to eat healthier foods while selling them 400 billion calories of junk food in our schools every year.
Getting junk food out of our schools is a critical part of our efforts to make sure America’s child obesity crisis does not become a national security crisis.
Photo below: Students in the U.S. consume almost 400 billion calories from junk food sold at school each year. If the calories were converted to candy bars, this would equal nearly 2 billion bars and weigh more than the aircraft carrier Midway (pictured below).