US concerned over Covid-inflamed national security problem
Across the globe, populations are experiencing major food security issues as a result of the Covid pandemic, but a new report highlights the consequences for national security.
COVID-19 is exacerbating food insecurity across nations, and new data show that young people are being affected the most. Non-partisan US national security organisation, Mission: Readiness, has released a new report – Breaking Point: Child Malnutrition Imperils America’s National Security – outlining how the pandemic is causing unprecedented levels of food insecurity among US youth.
This report asserts the problem is not only a health issue, but a national security crisis as well. Food insecurity and malnutrition are linked to obesity, which is a leading cause of military ineligibility.
Members of Mission: Readiness – retired admirals and generals of the US military – have been actively promoting the imperative of good nutrition for the benefits of national security for over a decade. However, the recent events resulting from COVID-19 have served to highlight shortcomings in national nutrition programmes prompting calls for Congress to reassess and invest more heavily in this area.
Below are some of the key findings from the report and accompanying poll:
- 75 percent of young Americans (18-24) consider military service a strong career choice. However, 71 percent of young Americans are not eligible for military service, with obesity as one of the largest disqualifiers
- 39 percent of Americans surveyed state that they or a family member are more likely to enlist in the military right now. However, increased food insecurity and malnutrition have the potential to make more Americans ineligible
- Up to 18 million US children will face food insecurity this year due to the pandemic, and this number is expected to grow as rates of unemployment and poverty rise
- This represents a 63 percent increase since 2018 when 11 million children experienced food insecurity.
The council is calling for lawmakers to modernise school meal programmes, so that they can continue to help prepare America’s children for strong futures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.