Is Being Obese the New Terrorism?

When I think of National Security, I think of an invasion or when jet liners crash into buildings killing thousands of people. These types of acts are beyond an individual’s control. One of the reasons we have a military is to protect us from this type of national security threat.

So I was shocked when I saw the First Lady being interviewed by Dr. Oz (Mehmet Öz) about obesity. Here’s how it went:

Dr. Oz: “From my perspective, the number one greatest national security threat that we have is obesity. Do you ever think about it that way?”

Michelle Obama: “Well absolutely. Shocking information, I do a lot of work with military families, and spend a lot of time on military bases and the number one thing that prevents young people from the ages of 17 to 24 to qualify for the military is obesity.”

It’s quite simple. If young people want to go into the military and being overweight is the obstacle keeping them out, then I suggest that they spend time losing weight. Losing weight is a matter of the will. It requires discipline and will power.

Nobody made anybody overweight. Being overweight is the result of eating more in calories than are burned off. If a person consumes 2200 calories every day and only burns off 2000 calories, then over time that person is going to gain weight. The body will store the extra 200 calories as fat.

I’m not saying that losing weight is easy, but it’s not a national security issue in the way most people think about national security. Three-fourths of the people who want to join the military have no difficulty getting in based on body weight considerations.

Dr. Oz and Mrs. Obama trivialize acts of terrorism. The comparison is similar to the way people identify some tragedy as a “holocaust.” Not everything is comparable to Adolf Hitler wanting to rid the world of European Jewry.

Like everything government tries to fix, in a bi-partisan effort, a $4.5 billion measure in 2010 expanded “free school meals for the needy and gave the government the power to decide what kinds of foods may be sold in vending machines, lunch lines and fundraisers during school hours.”

If you really want these kids to lose weight, I suggest that we stop subsidizing school lunches and breakfasts. The pounds will drop off. Getting rid of vending machines will also help. The expansion of the school lunch program to fight obesity shows that kids don’t lack the funds to buy food. They have plenty of food. Decreasing subsidies would make parents careful shoppers with the result that there would be less food in the house to snack on.

Going outside to play would also help. Getting an after-school job would go a long way in keeping kids from grazing all day.