Experts say 76 percent of Mississippians between ages 17 and 24 are not fit to serve in the US Military. MPB's Kobee Vance reports on how unhealthy diets are posing a threat to national security.
A panel of officials from across the state are discussing ways to make sure young Mississippians are living healthy lifestyles. Mission Readiness is a national effort by retired Generals and nutritional experts who are working to make a healthy generation that is ready and able to serve in the US Military. Retired Major General Leon Collins is the former Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard. He says it's important to have a large pool of potential recruits.
"What we have to do is start at the early age to get them acclimated to doing the right things, eating properly, staying fit and making sure they don't do anything that gets them in trouble to where they have a criminal record. Because that increases the pool that we can draw from in the event that we do have a conflict that we have to respond to."
Officials say part of the battle is making sure Mississippians have access to healthy and affordable food. The other part- is making sure families know how to cook and prepare those meals. Sylvia Byrd is with the Mississippi State Extension Service.
"If we can teach families quick easy recipes that are tasty, they are more likely to prepare those. We have a lot of recipes on our website that are less than 5 or 6 ingredients that are quick and easy one-pot, one-dish meals to prepare."
To be eligible to serve in the Military, citizens must be at least 17, have a high school diploma, and pass a physical medical exam.