By Jim Gourley Best Defense military health columnist
In 2010 the national security organization Mission: Readiness grabbed headlines with a report stating that obesity and other weight-related health conditions were the reason why nearly one-third of American youth were ineligible for military service. Titled "Too Fat to Fight," the report concluded that if American schools did not reform diet and exercise programs, the diminished pool of recruits might constitute a national security crisis. Though Mission: Readiness released a follow-up report in 2012, changes in American schools have been slow and sporadic, and the growth of obesity in Americans continues apace. During that time, the American military has had to recruit from the available population while facing other extraordinary challenges: continued operations in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa even as new conflicts develop in Europe and the Middle East, fiscal austerity and emerging threats in west Africa and Asia.