Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 12, 2014

Obesity, Homeland Security, and the National Preparedness Goal

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on August 12, 2014

Here’s the national preparedness goal:

“A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” 

Some people (e.g., several hundred retired admirals and generals) argue obesity threatens both the security and resilience of the nation.

A few years ago, in a document titled Too Fat to Fight, they claimed

Being overweight or obese turns out to be the leading medical reason why applicants fail to qualify for military service. Today, otherwise excellent recruit prospects, some of them with generations of sterling military service in their family history, are being turned away because they are just too overweight….

[At] least nine million 17- to 24-year-olds in the United States are too fat to serve in the military. That is 27 percent of all young adults. Obesity rates among children and young adults have increased so dramatically that they threaten not only the overall health of America but also the future strength of our military. 

Obesity threatens more than the nation’s ability to staff its armed forces. It’s an economic threat. And, as the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review report points out (p. 31), “homeland security is inseparable from economic security.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (still acronymized as CDC):

• More than one-third (or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.

• Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

• The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

What can be done to “prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover” from obesity?

Among the hundreds of answers offered to that question, here a suggestion from a 1:41 youtube video I saw a few weeks ago.

Homeland security starts at home.


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Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 12, 2014 @ 6:49 am

‘I want to go home’

I want to go home, I want to go home.
I don’t want to go in the trenches no more,
Where whizzbangs and shrapnel they whistle and roar.
Take me over the see, where the Alleyman can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

I want to go home, I want to go home.
I don’t want to visit la Belle France no more,
For oh the Jack Johnsons they make such a roar.
Take me over the sea, where the snipers they can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

While we can ponder whether there is Life on Kepler-186f or on Europa, folks, it is not the obesity of our youth that worries me because the US military can establish exercise programs, however here on “Main Street USA” we are very concerned in seeing as we expected, Barry Obama honoring only one oath, his pledge to his Father, Hussein Obama and his Kenyan pals, anti-Christian and anti-colonialists, intent as he has been in eroding the strength of this once strong arsenal as a prerequisite to Democracy, the World War I poem referenced herein no longer holds merit for its says:

Take me over the sea, where the snipers they can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

Our borders are porous, our laws are unenforced, the pigment of a man’s skin is used in every way to promote divisiveness despite a half-white President being elected for two terms by a majority of white voters and ISIS of some 10,000 thugs cannot be contained….wow and we are worried that we should turn away those patriots who are overweight, youth who choose to volunteer for service and are willing to endure the hardships of getting themselves in shape….com’on fellas, anyone who can pass the competency tests, send them to exercise camps for eight to twelve weeks and get these young men and women in shape and let’s prepare ourselves for some of the worst conflagration this nation has ever seen as a direct result of a weakened America led by a Chicago city street organizer more interested in joining his Cambridge MA professor down on Martha’s Vineyard than doing what is necessary to convene Congress and together addressing real issues and folks, it is time for term limits – there is no other way to break this gridlock as these fellas on both sides of the aisle are far to wealthy and far to arrogant so let’s not only boot ‘em out of office in November, but call on a two term only for local, state and national public offices…

Our flags are turned upside down on our front porches portraying the distress we are in here on “Main Street USA” with our (300 million) guns at home held high for all lawful purpose prepared for we see a US government weeks and months ago unwilling to take a small contingent of 800 thugs and now 10,000+ taking out their caravans crossing the desert so the question is Not about obesity for anyone competent enough and patriotic enough, well send them to the fat farm for a month or two or three and then get them fitted in a uniform for we hear ISIS on “Main Street USA” say they are coming our way and seeing we have a government who enables illegals on buses allowed by both the Mexican and US government to pass the jail cell of a locked up brave warrior, a US Marine held by the Mexican government and not one bus of illegals stopping and picking him us, well just as at the “Benghazi Massacre” and how Ms. Hillary and Barry stood shoulder to shoulder in blatant lie and left our brave men behind and an official of this government reportedly sodomized, folks We are ready despite the failings of this executive WH and we sponsor every capable young person who chooses to join our Army to get the help they need to knock off their pounds and get into uniform for we need a contingent of our youth to march over the board and take our brave Marine home and if the Mexican government complains, shut down US aid to Mexico as well….

Take me over the sea, where the snipers they can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

It is no longer true as it was in WWI that a fella could come home and no be in the sights of a sniper for it was DHS who allowed convicted felons out of jail to roam our streets, six terrorists freed by this administration acting alone and not with the approval of Congress to release rather than convict the worst of the worst and it is the fatties we worry about here on “Main Street USA” but it is just who Barry Obama supports other than the Muslim Brotherhood, the Sunni or the Shiite and well, We here on “Main Street USA” who watched Barry Obama hurriedly run to Cairo to bow before the King and kiss his ring…well, we know who Barry Obama supports and as a Judeo-Christian nation knowing the Germans will now fill the void in Middle East brokering, get our kids some exercise, however demand that our nation be again reunited rather than being divided by an executive WH who politicizes rather than leads and kindly advise Ms. Hillary to stay home and wait to be placed under “House arrest” for suspicion in breach of faith, treason as they may scoff at their pledge to this nation and our Constitution, but seeing our nation so vulnerable, You are the government and it is You – We the People who must demand accountability for all such actions contrary to the principles of this once great nation!

God Bless our youth and our nation! Get them into an exercise routine and then get them in a uniform for we need everyone as the world erodes given the weakness of our nation as well orchestrated by Barry Obama and his pledge to Hussein Obama and to the more violent Muslim such as the Islamic Brotherhood who he supports…..I still ask, when Michelle Obama took her daughter to Spain instead of choosing to see the Grand Canyon and teaching her kids about this nation’s great history, given that we paid for her trip, who did she meet in Spain?

To ISIS and to Tehran, it is Karl Guttenberg and Germany who you must combat and unfortunately you are no match….as Russia, China and India align, it is Germany who have practically encircled The “Brutes of Tehran” with a new Confederate of MMiddle East States supplying billions of dollars in arms these past five years and now in ally to Germany, the stage is now again set for World War and to no surprise to anyone who cares to learn the lessons of history, the Assyrians will again lead us to War!

Without America and a strong arsenal, the world’s stability will continue to erode and whether Putin has his short on or off, we all know Barry Obama is no match for the KGB trained patriot who seeks to restore the Soviet Union and he will reach to do so as he is Russian and he will not continue to allow western nations to continue what he sees as an embarrassing moment in Russian/Soviet history….

We folks are in real jeopardy and the clock is ticking so in November, clearly recall those who have blatantly lied and failed to uphold their pledge in oath and on the Bible, not the Qur’an for this nation is open to all and in their choices for religious preference, however we will not be intimidated by thugs who hide behind the skirts of women and children….

Jerusalem and a two state – Palestinian and Israeli state solution is the only way ahead and interestingly, while Hamas itself does not yet know this, they, too will bow to the Germans shortly as Germany plays a pivotal role in Middle East talks w/America unseated at the table and with time, it will be Germany again who will double cross many….Vote in November and send a clear message that this country is our country and our borders like any other nation are to be protected and closed to anyone not following the legal process and we intend to enforce all our laws….this is the only solution as are term limits prerequisite to sustaining our beloved Republic!

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”

PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

Comment by Dan O'Connor

August 12, 2014 @ 7:45 am

It really boils down to how we define resilience, adaptive capability and wellness as a component of homeland security.

Its a semantic argument for some and for others, not. The bottom line is the illusion of being secure with data mining and surveillance is just that; an illusion. Security is not binary. It is the most complex of complex adaptive systems because all the interfaces and subjective nuances put against it.

Its been broached on this blog for years; if there is not a definitive statement of what homeland security is than what isn’t homeland security?

Comment by John Comiske

August 12, 2014 @ 8:49 am

Near done with my HLS college curricula analysis (forthcoming).

HLS is likely a meta-discipline that transcends many disciplines. Admittedly, this a vague term and what I formerly referred to a weasel word (academic ambiguity).

America’s obesity issue is related to our wealth, abundance, and decreasing self-reliance. For many, including and perhaps especially those below the poverty level, we have more than enough screens to watch, more than enough food to eat, and more than enough leisure time to do both. Worse yet we have both a society and government that engenders and subsidizes a cradle to grave entitlement mentality.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 12, 2014 @ 8:53 am

During the operation of the draft in WWII 1/3 were rejected for being underweight [malnourished?}! The test was weight above 100 pounds. The Food Stamp program was in reality started as a WWII program!

Comment by E. Earhart

August 12, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

Center For Disease Control reports:

Compared with whites, Blacks had 51% higher and Hispanics had 21% higher obesity rates.

Racial and ethnic groups differ in behaviors that contribute to weight gain; second explanation may be differences in individual attitudes and cultural norms related to body weight.

Given the significant racial and ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence, it is also crucial to ensure that racial/ethnic groups with the greatest need benefit most from these intervention efforts and are engaged in helping identify effective strategies in their communities.

To reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the prevalence of obesity, an effective public health response is needed that includes surveillance, policies, programs, and supportive environments achieved through the effort of government, communities, workplaces, schools, families, and individuals.


Comment by Dan O'Connor

August 13, 2014 @ 11:19 am


I think there is also a demography/class data point missing from your assessment. Thorny issues with regard to class, availability of food vice refined food stuff, and other socioeconomic issues have a lot to do with the above mentioned CDC data.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 13, 2014 @ 11:53 am

The NPG still dated January 2008?

Comment by E. Earhart

August 13, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

D O’C:

Thanks for commenting, having done the research, you are the authority. Not my assessment; everything posted from CDC.

I agree with you re the thorny issues. Yes, a most complex of complex. Absolutely socioeconomic issues play large role; For those interested, CDC has a nice 7 minute video on the environmental issues to which you allude and which have contributed to the obesity epidemic:


Mr. Comiskey alluded to these thorny issues in his post above, “For many, including and perhaps especially those below the poverty level, we have more than enough screens to watch, more than enough food to eat, and more than enough leisure time to do both. Worse yet we have both a society and government that engenders and subsidizes a cradle to grave entitlement mentality.”

What do we do?

On a similar issue, well visits for newborns, we have had to go so far as to hold food stamps hostage in order to force mothers/families to bring newborns in for shots and check-ups that are already being provided free of charge.(not so sure if this is a good policy or not) But is this what it takes?

Should BMI be considered a pre-existing condition?
Should the price of health insurance be tied to BMI? Some private health plans are already doing this. Are there Government funded plans that use this incentive?

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 13, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

Perhaps Food Stamp Program could be modified to prevent purchase of Transfats.

Comment by Dan O'Connor

August 14, 2014 @ 6:44 am


Was aware it was CDC’s and not yours. Apologize for tangental implication!

The cynic in me sees the hand of Government as an accelerator of the issue and not one to pose a solution. Food Stamps/SNAP another way to push excess grain, esp corn and wheat from silo to supermarket. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)does little in the way of nutrition sustenence but instead delivers a very highly refined foodstuff/carbohydrate diet. It also encourages maximizing calories for lowest proce possible; refined foods primarily from agricultural excess.

With a nation that disposes more than 50% of its produced food one should wonder aloud about the efficacy of the green revolution and how we feed and nourish a nation.

Bill; transfats probably have more to do with inflammation and therefore atheroschlerosis/heart disease.

Fat is not the culprit; refined fats and refined carbohydrates are. How can a box of fruit loops be heart healthy? Its insidious.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 14, 2014 @ 10:29 am

Thanks DAN!

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