Agriculture Education aff plans/Drafts



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****Nutrition Advantage



Nutrition – 1AC Module



Worsening obesity crisis undermines the economy and threatens national security


Williams, Western State College of Law professor, 16

[Ryan T. Williams, The University of Toledo Law Review, “Size Really Does Matter: How Obesity is Undermining America’s National Security,”, Fall, 2016, 48 U. Tol. L. Rev. 21, page 1-2, RK]

Abstract: This Article examines how America’s obesity epidemic threatens the security of the nation. One quarter of Americans aged 17 – 24 are ineligible for the U.S. military solely because they are overweight or obese. As result, the Department of Defense and the Pentagon have declared America’s obesity problem a national security crisis. Moreover, nearly 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. By 2050, one-third of all Americans will have diabetes. As a result, 18% of America’s GDP is spent on health care, at least double every other major industrialized country. By 2075, due to the rise in obesity related illnesses and diseases, 40% of America’s GDP will be spent on health care costs. Those rising costs will require reallocation of America’s economic resources, which will inevitably result in decreased spending on those government functions related to national security. This article offers potential solutions to address this growing problem.

“Obesity is the single greatest non-criminal hindrance for our young people seeking to enlist in the armed forces.”1

I. Introduction Since 1980 adult obesity rates in America have doubled from fifteen to thirty percent.2 Childhood obesity rates have almost tripled in the same time period.3 Since 1960, the incidence of extreme or "morbid" obesity (BMI above 40) has risen six-fold.4 In total, an estimated 160 million Americans are either obese or overweight.5 Nearly 75% of American men and more than 60% of women are obese or overweight.6

With these increased rates of obesity are significant increases in a plethora of illnesses including type-2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and infant mortality.7 “Because obesity affects self-esteem, which in turn affects academic performance, rising youth obesity rates may negatively impact American students' academic achievement and competitiveness in a global economy.” 8 In sum, ‘[B]eing overweight or even obese is a growing, unchecked problem in the US today,’9 said Dr. Ali Mokdad, Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. ‘We are looking at a major public health epidemic that must be stopped.’

This article posits a first step in stopping the epidemic – by reframing the obesity crisis into its proper perspective, as a threat to national security. Over 25% of Americans aged 17 – 24 are ineligible for the U.S. military solely because they weigh too much.10 Obesity is the leading cause of the substantial rise in medical rejections of potential military recruits.11 Obesity also poses serious challenges to the nation's economy by costing employers billions of dollars annually in health care expenditures, lost worker productivity, and workers' compensation claims. Government expenditures on health care through Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs, already rising at a rate that far outpaces inflation, are significantly higher and will only increase further due to rising obesity rates.

The rising health care expenditures will soon leave little room for anything else – including the U.S. military. As such, if America’s overweight and obesity crisis is not only halted but reversed, she will soon find herself with bigger problems than jeans that do not fit anymore. As a result, the Pentagon has declared the obesity epidemic to be a serious national security issue.12 The Department of Defense has gone so far as to exclaim that a fit fighting force is the key to national security.13

Note – “She” describing the US, and “herself”


Continued health care cost escalation ensures cuts in military spending


Williams, Western State College of Law professor, 16

[Ryan T. Williams, The University of Toledo Law Review, “Size Really Does Matter: How Obesity is Undermining America’s National Security,”, Fall, 2016, 48 U. Tol. L. Rev. 21, page 18-19, RK]

D) Problems With Cutting The Military’s Budget To Pay For America’s Obesity Crisis In order to cover the increase in health care costs, a significant reduction in military spending would likely be necessary. Significantly reducing the military’s budget may not inherently be a negative outcome, though. Many people (including the author of this Article) feel the current military is probably too bloated and could benefit from less money and wiser allocation of resources. 103 However, such a focus misplaced. The point is not to debate whether or not military spending should be reduced, but rather the dangerous consequences if it has to be reduced. There is a difference between the federal government deciding, based on the current international and political landscape, that military spending can safely be reduced, versus forcibly shrinking the military because too many Americans are overweight or obese forcing unsustainably high health care costs.

Even the most ardent anti-military advocates and political theorists would have to admit that a forced, substantial reduction in military spending, amidst an already growing troop shortage problem, would likely weaken America for several reasons. First and most basically, America would have fewer troops available to defend itself from future attacks. The necessity of a healthy military, ready to deploy at any time in defense of the nation should not be underestimated. September 11, 2001 showed that people do not fear attacking mainland U.S. Reducing the military to the point where we would not be able to defend the nation could have the domino effect of emboldening America’s enemies, making them more likely to strike while America’s defense are depleted.

Military cuts risk unstable nuclear deterrence strategy and nuclear insecurity


Williams, Western State College of Law professor, 16

[Ryan T. Williams, The University of Toledo Law Review, “Size Really Does Matter: How Obesity is Undermining America’s National Security,”, Fall, 2016, 48 U. Tol. L. Rev. 21, page 19-20, RK]



America will undoubtedly retain enough nuclear weapons to sufficiently destroy/retaliate against any nation that attacks her. Currently, America has approximately 7,100 nuclear weapons available. 104 Thus, this Article is not saying that if America’s military budget is reduced, America would lose if Venezuela invaded and attempted to take over the country. America will likely maintain its nuclear capabilities to discourage/stop such an attack. But nuclear weapons as a primary defense have their limitations. Having the largest nuclear arsenal in the world did not prevent 9/11. Nor has it played a role in, much less ended, the war on terror. Individual groups and/or smaller factions require something less than nuclear bombs to defeat. Asymmetric warfare and on the ground guerilla tactics are often better utilized when fighting terrorist organizations, the type of enemy the U.S. is likely to face in the future.

Thus, even though America will likely retain nuclear preeminence in the world, to ward off relatively smaller in scale (but by no means small) attacks and attackers, America will likely need the rest of its military. Keeping nuclear weapons but reducing military spending on almost everything else would not be an effective national security strategy. On the other hand, an obesity necessitated reduction in budget, that leads to significant military cuts from the nuclear weapons program, would also be problematic. It is expensive to properly dispose of, and maintain effective safeguards in so doing, for thousands of nuclear weapons. Without the money to maintain and keep safe track of all of our nuclear weapons, one can imagine a sort of Wild West in which advanced nuclear materials and weapons are siphoned off to the highest bidder. One need only look to what has happened with some of the states in the former Soviet Union and the disorganized dismantling of its nuclear weapons program as a model the U.S. does not want to follow.105

Note – “her” describing US


Preventing obesity in childhood is uniquely key – drastically increases risk of adult obesity


Haynes-Maslow, Union of Concerned Scientists Food and Environment Program PhD, MHA food systems and health analyst, and O’Hara, Union of Concerned Scientists PhD agricultural economist, 15

(Lindsey and Jeffrey K. February 2015, Union of Concerned Scientists, “Lessons from the Lunchroom.” http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/02/lessons-from-the-lunchroom-report-ucs-2015.pdf, p.2, Accessed 7/1/17, GDI - JMo)



America’s children are bombarded daily with junk foods full of sugar, salt, and fat. On average, U.S. children consume five times the amount of sugar recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but only about one-third the recom- mended amount of fruits and vegetables. Unhealthy diets have contributed to nearly 30 percent of our nation’s children being overweight or obese, with lower-income and racial or ethnic minority children at the greatest risk.

Children with obesity are as much as 10 times more likely than healthy-weight children to become obese adults. This, in turn, increases their risk of developing serious chronic diseases later on in lifeincluding type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. This is not only tragic for those suffering from obesity, but expensive for us all, as taxpayers and consumers cover some of the costs of treating these illnesses through public and military health insurance programs and higher private health insurance premiums. It is estimated that obesity-related healthcare costs in the United States account for $210 billion annually, or 16.5 percent of the country’s total healthcare costs.

Farm to School network key to education and improving nutrition


Mills, Seven Generations Ahead farm to school coordinator, 16

[Lydia, April 2016, The Education Digest, “Farm to School Leads School Lunch Revolution”, http://search.proquest.com/docview/1753451166?accountid=1557&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo, accessed 6/30/17, JBC]



School lunch is in the middle of a revolution. After decades of nuggets and peas, students and school administrators are starting to demand more. In Illinois, much of the landscape is farmland, but the food grown there is rarely placed in a school salad bar or blended into cafeteria spaghetti sauce. While there are obstacles, the school lunch revolution has helped connect farmers and students through local food sales and curricular connections. This movement is called Farm to School, and it is quickly growing.

The purpose of the National Farm to School Network is to enrich the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and preschools.

In Illinois, Farm to School encompasses three main areas: the cafeteria, the classroom, and the garden. If school or school district has a goal of starting a Farm to School program, it doesn't have to source all local produce or have farmers visit the cafeteria. If a school builds a raised bed and has students plant vegetables in the garden, it is engaging with Farm to School.

Often, schools find that one project leads to another. If students plant a garden, they may want to visit different types of farm operations. This could introduce new ideas about possibilities for agricultural careers. In rural areas, schools with Farm to School programs are reviving Future Farmers of America and 4-H groups, some for the first time in years. Students learn to appreciate agriculture while learning real, hands-on skills in the garden.

Schools in Valley View CUSD365U, in the Romeoville area, have found gardens a powerful learning tool. Meghan Gibbons, food service director for the district, created a grant program for schools to use when creating gardens. This initial connection between the cafeteria and the garden was a powerful partnership. "Though the school receives guidance from our department, they bring their unique spin to each garden," Gibbons said. "Our first pilot garden started in 2012-2013 and now eight of our 19 schools have 'Edible School Gardens.'"

Bringing garden fresh or locally-grown food into nutrition education has the added benefit of tasting fresh and delicious.

In the classroom, Farm to School can operate as a standalone curriculum or as a part of existing curricular modules. At Valley View, "Just about every subject has been taught in our gardens, making a tie to our K-12 curriculum," Gibbons said.



Many nutrition-focused Farm to School curricula are available. Although frequently used in health education, these can be used in many other subjects.

Teaching about food in the school garden and the classroom is a natural way to transition a cafeteria from the status quo to a part of the school lunch revolution. Local food procurement is not without hurdles. However, the USDA offers training and toolkits for food service directors to use when developing bids, so they can prioritize and select distributors who buy food from local farmers. Many schools find that once students are excited about local food, it is much easier to change the way food is purchased for lunch.

Oak Park ESD97 started its Farm to School program after deciding to improve the food served in the cafeteria. The district changed its bid to increase the amount of produce from local farmers, and discovered that when it brought in more local food, students were eating better. Anna Gacke, district assistant director of food and nutrition services, said, "We are proud to serve local food to students about once a week, depending on the season. So far this year, we have offered local apples, salad greens, kale mixes, broccoli slaw, baked potatoes, and cauliflower."

Serving local food in the cafeteria created a culture shift in the school overall. More healthy food promotion is done through the cafeteria, including days when students dress up as different fruit and vegetable colors each day of the week. Food service participates in wellness committees and helps teachers create activities connected to the local foods served. High school students maintain gardens and serve the produce once a year at a special meal.

In the 2012 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School census, food service directors reported spending $6.4 million on food produced locally. That is a fraction of the $42 million spent in total. Farm to School programs not only have amazing impacts in the classroom, they also serve as an economic stimulus in rural communities.



As the National Farm to School Network states, Farm to School empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. Studies show that when children learn about where food comes from in a classroom setting, they actually do eat more fruits and vegetables. Farm to School helps students grow more likely to make healthy choices throughout their lives.


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