Thinning out our military: One-third of Americans “too fat” to serve

Thinning out our military: One-third of Americans “too fat” to serve

The obesity epidemic in America has long been touted as a serious public health concern. As Americans continue to lead more sedentary lives devoid of proper nutrition, ailments such as heart disease and diabetes become increasingly problematic. Now, growing rates of obesity may actually become detrimental to American military might.


Statistics about American obesity from the CDC


A recent report issued by Mission: Readiness — a nonpartisan organization comprised of retired military personnel — has found that roughly 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 cannot physically serve in the military due to their weight. Beyond that, 70 percent of the recruits the military turns away come as a direct result of their weight problems.


This issue not only limits the pool of potential recruits for our military, but puts active soldiers at risk when overweight Americans who barely meet the requirement cannot perform at peak condition in combat.


To make any sort of headway in solving this issue, the organization has begun to petition that Congress reauthorize an amended Child Nutrition Act. The changes would lead to a greater focus on exercise and proper nutrition in American schools, starting children on a healthier path earlier in life.


The report cites a direct quote from retired US Army General John M. Shalikashvili on the matter:

“Every month hundreds of otherwise excellent candidates for military service are turned away by recruiters because of weight problems. Since 1995, the proportion of recruits who failed their physical exams because they were overweight has risen by nearly 70 percent. We need to reverse this trend, and an excellent place to start is by improving the quality of food served in our schools.


This problem speaks to an overall greater problem of obesity that continues to grow in America. Recent studies have shown that roughly 75 percent of men, and 67 percent of women can now be classified as overweight or obese. This means overweight Americans now outnumber healthy Americans for the first time ever.


What are your thoughts on the obesity epidemic in America? What steps need to be taken to quell the rise in obesity? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us what you think!


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