Report | October 4, 2017

How Colorado Can Reduce Childhood Obesity and Improve Military Readiness

Colorado should prioritize investments in active transportation, healthy food choices for families, and high-quality physical education (PE) programs

Low levels of physical activity and the obesity epidemic are contributing to an unprecedented readiness problem for our armed forces. According to Department of Defense data, 70 percent of young adults in Colorado, and 71 percent nationwide, would not qualify for military service. Obesity is one of the primary reasons, disqualifying nearly one-third of young Americans.

As the leanest state in the nation for adults, Colorado can play a leading role in remedying the childhood obesity crisis and ensuring that more young adults have the option of military service.

I strongly believe that an investment in Colorado’s walking and biking infrastructure is an investment in the health and fitness of our communities, and would provide many of our young adults a better opportunity to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces.

General (Ret.) Gregory S. Martin, U.S. Air Force

This report outlines three immediate steps Colorado policymakers can take to give children the opportunity to live healthy lives and strengthen national security:

• Invest in active transportation to build healthy communities.

• Incentivize healthy food purchases to build healthy families.

• Improve physical education (PE) to build healthy schools.


  1. Colorado*