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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Breaking Point: Child Malnutrition Imperils America’s National Security

September 22, 2020 GMT

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Mission: Readiness, an organization of 750 retired admirals and generals, released its 2020 report, Breaking Point: Child Malnutrition Imperils America’s National Security. The report emphasizes how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and child malnutrition, highlighting a grave national security concern for the nation.

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According to Mission: Readiness, 39% of Americans say they or a family member are more likely to enlist in the military now than before the pandemic. However, obesity is seriously impacting the U.S.′ ability to enlist and deploy military service members. Today, 71% of youth between the ages of 17 and 24 do not qualify for military service, and obesity alone disqualifies 31% of youth from serving. And the situation is only becoming more dire as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Food insecurity is closely linked to nutrition insecurity - insufficient access to affordable, healthy, tasty foods.” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy. “This increases and perpetuates the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and other malnutrition-related diseases in America, and things may be only getting worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to cause 18 million children to experience food insecurity and many to suffer from child malnutrition that can manifest as obesity. What’s more, the U.S. is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels of food security for a decade.

“We are again calling for Congress to invest in the health of our youth, by strengthening and modernizing school meal programs to meet current and future challenges,” said General (Ret.) Richard Myers, Mission: Readiness member, President of Kansas State University and retired 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Increasing children’s access to these foods now can help America recover from present challenges, and bolster our national security in the future.”

Mission: Readiness has identified the Meals on Wheels for Kids Act as a short-term first step towards overcoming this challenge. The organization is pushing for bolder solutions in the long term, such as innovations in transportation, meal delivery, development of mobile meal sites.

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For further context on Mission: Readiness’ 2020 report, register here for their upcoming webinar on September 24, 2020.

About Mission: Readiness

Retired admirals and generals strengthening national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit, and stay out of trouble.

About Council for a Strong America

A national, bipartisan nonprofit that unites five organizations comprised of law enforcement leaders, retired admirals and generals, business executives, pastors, and prominent coaches and athletes who promote solutions that ensure our next generation of Americans will be citizen-ready

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SOURCE Mission: Readiness