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Too fat to fight?

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Updated: 4/20/2010 11:26 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Are school lunches a threat to national security? That's what one military group says.

They claim one out of four Americans at signing age are just too fat to join the military. The group claims kids are getting too much candy out of vending machines and drinking too much soda.

Parents like Jay Goodrich stand on the sidelines while his nine-year-old son is ready to play baseball. Goodrich knows part of that energy comes from eating right. "We always try to give them whole grains, fruits and vegetables."

A retired military group wants to see more parents like Goodrich. The group called Mission: Readiness claims school lunches are now a national security threat. They say kids are too fat and can't meet the military's physical fitness standards.

Jenna Braddock is a local registered dietician. She says being healthy starts at home, with parents. "Most kids are not fully equipped to make decisions for themselves."

She says kids have to know what to get when they go through the lunch line. "It's at least three food groups present and then take that further one way to look at nutritional value of that meal is how colorful is it. You want to move away from everything being white or brown, or coming from one food group or a package," said Braddock.

While parents like Goodrich agree obesity is a problem, he doesn't believe it's as bad as the retired military members think. "Getting kids to eat right is always an issue but I can't see it being national security level issue," said Goodrich.

The group is also trying to get a bill passed that would get rid of junk food and high calories beverages in school. The Duval School District changed their school lunch program within the last year. A spokesperson for the new company tells Action News they have a lot more fruits and vegetables as options, not the brownies or cookies. They also have a dietician on campus for parents who want some extra help when it comes to feeding their kids.   

This weekend there is an event that helps promote healthy eating habits and fitness for children. It's called the FOX30 Let us Play Junior 2K. The run is for kids between five and 12 years old. Kids start at the 50-yard line at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium this Saturday at 8am. It's not too late to register. Log on to and click on the Action Button at the top of the screen.
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