First lady Michelle Obama this week repeated her assertion that obesity is a national security threat, telling daytime television host Dr. Oz that obesity is the No. 1 reason holding young people back from joining the military.
“From my perspective, the number one greatest national security threat that we have is obesity,” Oz asked the first lady in an interview broadcast Wednesday. “Do you ever think about it that way?”
“Well absolutely,” Obama replied. “Shocking information, I do a lot of work with military families, and spend a lot of time on military bases and the the number one thing that prevents young people from the ages of 17 to 24 qualifying for the military is obesity.”
She continued, “the military is taking this very seriously and they’ve implemented some really fascinating and successful programs, so they have found that they’ve got to do a whole lot of re-educating in the military just to get soldiers ready for combat. So yes, it is absolutely a security issue for our country.”
The first lady, who has made tackling childhood obesity one of her signature issues, made similar remarks in December 2010 when she said military leaders have said “more than one in four young people are unqualified for military service because of their weight.”
“Childhood obesity isn’t just a public health issue, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well,” she said in 2010.