WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Army Accessions Command (USAAC) and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) today announced a partnership aimed at countering the trend toward obesity among young people that could – among other downsides – diminish the pool of qualified young Americans available for military duty.
The USAAC and the HWCF signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide a cooperative framework to work together to support America's young people in the face of youth obesity trends.
"In our recruitment efforts we have found a clear pattern of increased obesity among the nation's young people – a trend that can hurt many sectors of our society," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley. "Like other national institutions, the Army must show leadership in discouraging obesity and encouraging healthier lifestyle choices among the young people who make up America's future."
Both USAAC and HWCF spokespersons agreed on the importance of encouraging "energy balance" among children and young people – not taking in more calories than they burn through physical activity and normal growth.
"We are pleased to announce the U.S. Army as a new partner of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation," said David Mackay, chair of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and CEO of Kellogg Company. "Our commitment and dedication to reduce childhood obesity aligns well with the U.S. Army's and we are delighted to team with them as we work collaboratively in this fight."
A recent USAAC study by the Lewin Group found that of the American population aged 17-24, 9.3 million (or 29.3% of that demographic cohort) are unqualified for Military service wholly or partially because they are overweight. Of that population, approximately half are disqualified for being overweight and for additional medical reasons.
"Obesity in the workplace – or the recruitment center – shows up first in the classroom," said HWCF executive director Lisa Gable. "If you want to get a sense of the challenges facing America's future, consider the fact that childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980."
The USAAC and the HWCF will participate as appropriate in joint communication, outreach programs, forums, workshops, media activities and other programs to address the increase in obesity and overweight levels. Both organizations are committed to using evidence-based approaches to promote healthier eating, physical activity, daily energy balance and healthy body weight in an effort to restore energy balance among children. Both organizations share a commitment to evidence-based approaches to solve problems, the methodology they will be sharing in their joint initiatives.
SOURCE Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation