A New Front for Retired Admirals and Generals: Childhood Obesity

Supporting the retired admirals and generals of MISSION: READINESS in their work to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity

Dates of Project: November 2010–November 2011

Field of Work: Childhood Obesity

Problem Synopsis: Obesity, the leading medical reason why applicants fail to qualify for military service, is a threat to national security.

Synopsis of the Work: Retired high-ranking members of the military who are members of MISSION: READINESS, Military Leaders for Kids, advocated to reverse childhood obesity by focusing on the threat it poses to national security. They met with and wrote to federal and state policy-makers, published research reports and briefs, and generated media coverage of their activities (e.g., through press conferences, letters to the editor, and op-ed pieces). No Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funds were used for lobbying activities.

Key Results:

  • During nine meetings with key policy-makers in Congress, retired generals and admirals and MISSION: READINESS staff highlighted research showing how childhood obesity threatens national security.
  • MISSION: READINESS members sent letters featuring research about the national security threat posed by childhood obesity to federal policy-makers.
  • Their report Unfit to Fight: A follow-up to our national "Too Fat to Fight" report (2011) called on Congress to support the effort to implement science-based school meal standards and ensure that schools have the necessary support to meet the standards, and to encourage states and school districts to put physical education back into schools.
  • MISSION: READINESS produced research briefs on childhood obesity in California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Kentucky, the home states of key members of Congress.
  • Through reports, media events, and letters to the editor and op-ed pieces, MISSION: READINESS generated media coverage that resulted in 436 stories and reached an estimated 38.4 million people.

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