PORTLAND — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is speaking in Maine on his department’s efforts to improve childhood nutrition and prevent obesity.

Vilsack is speaking Thursday at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center on the Agriculture Department’s initiatives to promote proper nutrition and more physical activity for America’s youth.

Vilsack is also planning to visit the U.S. Coast Guard station in South Portland, where he will underscore the importance of proper nutrition to America’s military readiness. The USDA says only one out of four Americans between 17 and 24 are eligible to serve in the armed forces, in part because many are overweight or obese.