Retired military leaders fret kids will be "too fat to fight"

“If you have a very small (group) who are interested to begin with, and then the majority are not qualified, you can get into a pickle quickly,” Youngman said.

Current military officials agree that the nation’s obesity epidemic has created a serious problem, currently and for the next generation of soldiers. They say the military also is starting to address the issue, with efforts such as improving nutrition for current service members and by trying to help military families promote healthy eating and exercise habits with their children.

“If we really need the service now and of the future to be more physically fit and healthy, we certainly find that we can engage as a country .. how to address strategies of healthy living,” said Public Health Service Capt. Kimberly Elenberg, program manager for population health at the Defense Health Agency.