Nobody likes the word, ‘fat’ (unless it’s your Chinese surname). Rotund is better. So why are so many soldiers, police officers, and firefighters becoming overweight more frequently? Is it the processed foods and too many grains in their diets? Let’s take a look at some of the processed foods eaten by many soldiers, police officers, and firefighters (and a lot of other people also) in the local area.
Let’s name some of the of fattiest, saltiest or sweetest, and possibly addictive foods eaten quite often: processed chicken pot pie, lots of pasta, canned condensed soup with 850 mg of sodium (salt) per serving. But who eats just one serving? Most people eat the entire can of soup, even if it’s condensed. So double that and add a half. The most addictive foods are sugar, chocolate, meat, and cheese/dairy.
To make foods more ‘addictive’ you can add flavor extenders such as MSG that excite the brain with cravings to return for more of the same food whenever you think of the place you ate the particular type of food the first time. For example, you ate mint ice cream with chocolate chips at one place. You might think of ordering or buying mint chip ice cream the next time you visit that food market or eatery.
For lunch? So many soldiers, firefighters, and police officers, especially in California and the Southwest eat chicken burritos for lunch–with the pinto beans, rice, cheese, chicken, sour cream and salsa. That’s what’s very popular at noontime in Sacramento. That one burrito is worth at least 950 calories with 18 grams of saturated fat and 2,200 mg of soidum.
Lots of military, police, and firefighters go for white chocolate mocha latte coffees during the day. That’s another 580 calories and 15 grams of saturated fat. You can order nonfat milk and no whipped cream for 130 less calories. But wait, maybe you’re running daily for hours and preparing for a trialthalon and need all those calories.
And for dessert, many prefer cheesecake. A slab of cheesecake will present you with about 1,670 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat from a combination of dairy, chocolate, sugar, cream, white flour and butter. What about ice cream? How about 300 calories from a half cup serving of ice cream. And don’t forget that shake you had for a snack with chocolate ice cream, milk, and fudge syrup. That’s at least 1,250 for starters if you ordered the 16 oz size or the 24 oz size at 1,920 calories and 69 grams of saturated fat?
Maybe you should have had these 10 super foods that are healthier for most people: sweet potatoes, mangoes, unsweetened yogurt, broccoli, wild salmon, garbazo beans, butternut squash, leafy greens, and watermelon instead during the entire day. Walk through Capitol Park in Sacramento. There are no statues of obese American soldiers. Look at paintings in local art galleries depicting military recruits. They’re all in shape from ancient Spartans to WWII heroes. But how many Sacramento and national military recruits are too fat to fight?
Obesity could be a security threat. Up to a quarter of potential recruits for military service in the USA are obese. See the article, Most U.S. youths unfit to serve, data show – MarineCorpsTimes.com.
The military is blaming school lunches for obesity among some military service applicants. The same might be said for numerous youth who’d like to get into police work, firefighting, or become paramedics.
School lunches have been called a national security threat by a retired military officer, according to an April 20, 2010 MSNBC article by Associated Press writer, Mary Clare Jalonick, “School lunches called a national security threat.” What happens to the careers of overweight military recruits or applicants? And why, once secure in a military career for decades, do some soldiers, as well as some police officers and firefighters, gain so much weight?
It’s a problem also with pilots and bus drivers. You sit all day behind a wheel or desk after a few years in public or military service. Maybe it’s about reverting to the days when you ate those processed school lunches in Sacramento schools. But it’s a national issue.
How do we eliminate the security risk in Sacramento–related to obese military applicants? Start with school lunches and even school breakfasts. Too many kids are eating corn dogs for breakfast in schools and sausage pizzas or chicken nuggets for lunch. Instead, Sacramento school children should be taken on field trips to places that demonstrate and discuss or serve raw foods and vegetarian foods (with a permission slip from parents to consider the needs of children with food allergies).
The nation’s youth is getting too obese for military service, and that’s a security threat. The military’s input on school lunches isn’t happy with the sausage pizzas, corn dogs, and chicken nuggets kids are getting for breakfasts or the French fries, burgers, frozen breaded fish, or over-salted chicken patties served in school lunches. During World War II, military leaders reported that many recruits were rejected because poor nutrition created very short recruits.
Some suffered from rickets, rotten teeth, and other diseases of inadequate nutrition. After the war, military leaders pushed Congress to establish the national school lunch program so children would grow up healthier. Instead, schools can’t afford to cook from scratch, and are simply heating up frozen, processed foods high in salt, fat, and sugars. Snacks, iceberg lettuce with little nutrition, and vending machine sodas are taking the place of healthy foods or even ethnic foods. Too many kids are snacking on processed sausages on pizza made with processed cheese.
And few are asking what’s the processed cheese processed with–aluminum? In short, the children aren’t getting a plate of raw green vegetables and tomatoes topped with whole beans and brown rice or other whole grains such as quinoa. It costs to much and schools are strapped for cash. A lot of farmers aren’t able to get the fresh vegetables and whole fruits to schools because they can’t afford the transportation. The produce rots in the fields.
What happened to ethnic foods? Anthropologists know that tepary beans, for example, a staple of pre-Columbian Native Americans that are currently fed to children (of any ethnic origin) are less likely to come down with type 2 diabetes. Why not try healthy ethnic foods for school lunches?
In the meantime, kids are growing too obese for military service. They aren’t exercising enough to get in shape, and their nutrition is poor in the eyes of military recruiters. How do we get kids back in shape so they can have military careers? Obesity is a security risk. If the USA can’t get enough soldiers that aren’t obese, who is going to defend the country–retired cops, paramedics, and firefighters? We need a strong defense corps, but the food isn’t being eaten by youth. Military officers are blaming school lunches.
If children ate more tepary beans and less white rice, perhaps they wouldn’t become too obese for military service. With the rise of type 2 diabetes in children, sometimes tepary beans are fed to Native American (and any other) children to help prevent type 2 diabetes and for general health. The beans were a healthy staple in the diet of Southwest Native Americans in the past few centuries.
You might start with the Native American and the story of healthy tepary beans grown all over the southwest. Check out the sites on tepary beans to get some facts and background. Or introduce tepary beans to people that work with diabetics or senior citizens looking for healthier foods with fiber.
One of the local places you can ask what month they have tepary beans in season (in 2009 it was February) is West Sacramento’s Del Rio Botanical, consumer-supported agriculture. Ask them about their community-supported agriculture boxes. Check out Del Rio Botanical’s website, The location is Peadbody Ranch, 20030 Old River Road, West Sacramento. Check out the site for the phone number.
According to a December 23, 2009 article in the Sacramento Bee, “Area school kids struggle to stay fit, keep off weight,” by Diana Lambert, or the same date Sacramento Bee article, “Database: How many students in your child’s school are unfit?” by Phillip Reese– the statistics taken show how poverty is a factor in how schools perform on the state’s test.
The study found that in most cases the more students at an elementary school eat federal lunch assisted free or reduced cost lunches, the more overweight the students are when tested in school. The conclusion seems to be that the poorer the childrens’ parents are, the fatter the children. Poverty breeds overweight kids.
Basically, you have to be poor to qualify for a free lunch at school. The lunches are federally funded. Data show that family income is connected to how overweight the children are when measured at school. When kids get home, they find that their parents cannot afford to buy fruit and vegetables or lean meats. It’s too expensive.
What’s needed are community gardens where people can grow vegetables and fruits, and even learn how to preserve them so they can have vegetables and fruits year-round without worrying about the cost. That’s why ethno-botanists and nutritional anthropologists can look at the results of how ethnic foods eaten in one country are replaced by Western fast foods and what the results are when it comes to screening military recruits for obesity. It’s a problem that becomes a national security risk, when applicants for military service are just too obese to be recruited for defense.
And the problem can be curbed by better nutrition and more activities focused on what’s healthy. You have a nation divided by body builders on one side of the divide and school kids on corndogs, sausage pizza, and chicken nugget lunches on the other side hoping to enter military careers after high school. But what happens to national security when kids are too obese?
And what happens to the police and firefighters that used to stop at the local doughnut shop? How many are snacking for energy on healthier foods, ethnic foods, or even raw and vegan foods? Look for yourself. Do you see soldiers, police officers, and firefighters going into health food stores to eat nowadays? Or do you still see those police cars in front of doughnut shops and fast-food eateries?
Are these habits a carryover from school lunch days? Who’s feeding future soldiers? And are Sacramento school lunches a security risk for the future? Answers you’ll hear most likely will be based on a need for change or a fact that the money, staff, and resources are not there for raw foods or meals cooked from scratch. Perhaps it will take Congress to make changes in the diets of youth, at least for the sake of national security.