Retired military leaders: Obesity having an impact on our national security

BY RICHARD A. BURPEE, JAY T. EDWARDS AND GREG SLAVONIC Modified: March 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm •  Published: March 23, 2013
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A number of privately run programs around the country are incentivizing healthy purchases among SNAP participants by matching, dollar for dollar, the amount spent on healthy foods at venues like farmers markets. These programs have shown promising results in increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. They also have the added value of supporting local farmers.

As retired military officers and members of the national security organization Mission: Readiness, we recently met with U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, to thank him for his past support of SNAP incentive grant programs and to ask him to include a robust SNAP incentive provision in the upcoming farm bill authorization.

This is an important step to make sure that our children are eating better so that the obesity crisis doesn't become a national security crisis. To be sure, our military stands ready to protect against those who would threaten our security. However, in order to sustain military preparedness for the future, we must ensure that upcoming generations of Americans will be fit to serve.

Burpee is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general. Edwards is a retired Air Force major general. They are former commanders of Tinker Air Force Base. Slavonic is a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral.