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KHF’s Coen issues statement on new Mission: Readiness report

July 15, 2015

The following is an official statement, released by Kansas Health Foundation President and CEO Steve Coen, in regards to a new report, titled “Retreat is Not an Option for Kansas,” which states Obesity is the leading medical reason why young adults in Kansas are unable to serve in today’s military.

“Time and time again, we’ve heard how our nation’s children suffer from a lack of physical activity and nutritious meals. Children are developing high blood pressure and diabetes at alarmingly early ages, and poor nutrition plays a large role. It’s even more concerning to hear that 71 percent of Kansas young adults cannot join the military for a variety of reasons, with obesity being the leading medical reason. According to the report, released by Mission: Readiness and the Council for a Strong America, Kansas is tied for the 7th worst rate in the nation.

At the Kansas Health Foundation, our mission is to improve the health of all Kansans, including our children and service men and women. It’s alarming to learn that the military spends more than $1.5 billion a year on obesity-related medical costs.

Better nutrition will help our children grow up to be healthy adults, and their time at school is crucial for helping to teach healthy habits. Children spend up to 2,000 hours in the school environment each year, and it’s at school that they consume up to half of their daily calories. Focusing on better nutrition at schools — following the USDA guidelines — will improve health and wellness of our future Kansans. A healthy future for our children is a realistic goal and a necessity for a thriving state in the decades to come.”

Steve Coen, Kansas Health Foundation President and CEO

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