U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that it's vitally important for America's youth to have healthy eating habits, calling it an issue of national security as well as educational accomplishment and health care.This isn't exactly news for me. I just got finished bubbling in the scores for our fifth grade Physical Education test, "national security?"
"If we don't address this issue, we're going to have a shrinking number
of young people who are qualified for military service, and when you
have an all-volunteer military, you have to have a large pool to draw
from," said Secretary Tom. When I was standing out on our playground watching our kids do their mile run, after spending the previous five months running alongside them, it never occurred to me that I was watching the future defenders of my country. While I was standing next to each and every fifth grader as they pumped out as many push-ups and crunched as many curl-ups as they could manage, I wasn't watching prospective soldiers. I was counting the relative accomplishments of ten and eleven year olds as they dealt with the limitations of their young bodies.
After all, most of the boys who have an inkling about what they want to be when they grow up will tell me that they are going to play for the Raiders or the Lakers. The fact that they get winded after running a quarter of a mile, and the mere idea of a push-up is abhorrent to them doesn't enter into that equation. Not as they make their way to the push cart outside our school at the end of every day to buy an ice cream or a bag of fried crunchies that may or may not have pork elements. The crunchies, not the ice cream. I think. And then a great many of them are on their way home to participate in the supreme irony of this scheme: They will turn on their video game consoles and spend the next few hours sitting relatively motionless, with the mild exception of their thumbs, and play "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2."
No matter that very few of these kids could hope to match the physical requirements asked for by professional sports teams, and never mind that the armed forces fitness protocols would exclude them. Military service still may be in their future. I'm pretty sure they let you snack on Takis as you recline on your molded barcalounger, piloting the latest and deadliest drone on whatever mission our constitution will allow. Problem solved.