(NBC) – A new report claims American childhood obesity is threatening national security.
A group of retired generals and admirals presented the report Tuesday in Washington. The headline: Nearly a third of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are too fat to join the military.
The report blames school menus, and says being overweight is the No. 1 medical reason military recruits are turned down.
"More than 9 million young adults are too overweight to join the military - that's 27 percent," said retired Air Force Lt. General Norman Seip.
"In fact, it has been shown that for the first time in our history the health of children today is worse than that of their parents," said retired army Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender.
The report blames school menus bloated with junk food.
"What children eat and drink during school hours can constitute up to forty percent of their daily nutrient intake," said retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett.
The Obama Administration is pushing for healthy school breakfast and lunch programs but the price tag is a billion dollars.
"Our youngsters, 31 million of them have got to be fed better. Otherwise, they're not going to perform as well in school. It's going to be a health care problem in the future 35 and as the generals will indicate it's also a national security concern," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
But are schools the problem? These retired military leaders say the solution is as easy as one, two, three. Get junk food out of the schools, increase funding and get schools to do what they do best, teach.