Obese Trainee
© UnknownA file photo of an obese trainee
The increasing rate of obesity in the US has turned into a national security issue amid growing concerns about a shortage of fit youths capable of serving the military.

Concerns over obesity has even forced the US First lady Michelle Obama to take her anti-obesity campaign to the army's largest training base at Fort Jackson near Columbia on Thursday where she called on young Americans to follow a rigorous dieting regime applied at the military post.

Michelle Obama stressed that obesity in the United States is "not just a health issue but a national security issue," AP quoted her as telling the trainees on the base.

She added that the military's push to turn recruits into health-conscious troops could be a model for making people across the country more focused on fitness and nutrition.

According to the US Army, an increasing number of young Americans are too overweight to join the military.

A 2010 report, released by a group of veteran military leaders, indicates that 27 percent of young adults in the US are too fat to serve in the military.

From 1995 through 2008, the proportion of potential recruits that failed their physicals because they were overweight rose almost 70 percent, the report concluded.