LETTERS: Obesity Is a Matter of National Security!
I'm deeply concerned about the readiness crisis facing our nation's military. The increasing rate of obesity among young adults is seriously impacting our military's ability to recruit. Obesity has become the top reason why individuals are disqualified from serving.
To tackle this crisis, it's crucial that we recognize obesity as a chronic disease requiring comprehensive care, similar to conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or hypertension. While efforts to improve childhood nutrition and physical education are important, they have fallen short in achieving the desired results and addressing the urgent readiness challenge we face today.
One solution that often goes unnoticed is the use of anti-obesity medications (AOMs) approved by the FDA. These medications have significantly evolved since earlier drugs with negative reputations. However, many Americans, including potential military recruits struggling to meet weight requirements, face limited access to these medications.
We need to expand insurance coverage so that we can improve access not only for potential recruits but also for millions of Americans covered by commercial insurance plans and state Medicaid programs. Expanding coverage would level the playing field and empower individuals to manage their weight effectively.
It's worth noting that TRICARE, the insurance plan for active-duty military and their families, already covers these medications. Extending this access to potential recruits and all Americans who can benefit from these treatments would promote fairness, enhance quality of life, and significantly improve our military readiness and national security.
I urge Senator Cassidy to lead and support this crucial reform. Taking prompt action to expand Medicare coverage of AOMs is a great step to address the obesity epidemic and strengthen our military.
Kathy Lu Willard