Brief | May 6, 2015

Healthy School Food: A Matter of National Security

Reducing childhood obesity and improving military eligibility among young South Carolinians

Over the past three decades, the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has more than tripled, threatening not only the overall health of America, but also the future strength of our military. Today, one-third of all adolescents in the United States—and 39 percent in South Carolina—are overweight or obese. South Carolina’s obesity rate is the third-highest in the nation.

Our nation has a responsibility to help our young people become mentally and physically strong—and schools play a crucial role in accomplishing both of these objectives. Children consume up to half of their total daily calories and spend more than half of their waking hours at school.

Recently, policymakers, educators, and nutritionists came together to give children healthier food choices at school. This report describes why those changes are important to prevent obesity and improve military eligibility among the next generation.