Obesity Epidemic Affecting US Military
According to retired generals cited in the Washington Post alongside the army’s own statistical records, Americans are getting too fat to serve. Figures from a report on national health from a few years ago showed that twenty-seven percent of Americans aged 17-24 are so overweight that they cannot fight in the military.
These statistics actually represent about nine million American young adults. Research shows that over the past decade and a half, there has been a seventy percent increase in the amount of potential recruits who are failing their health exams due to weight issues.
According to the Centre for Disease Control, the numbers are even more gruesome. The number of states now reporting to have more than 40% of their young adult population classified as obese or overweight has dramatically spiked. In 1998 only one state reported such findings, but as of 2008, there were 39 states reporting these striking results.
Because almost half of all school aged American children’s calories are consumed during the school day, and because the lunch programs have failed to provide healthy options for students, scientists and health professionals are calling for a major revamping of this scenario. One of the easiest ways to combat the rising tide of weight issues among children is to stop feeding them high calorie and fattening foods at school.
School children are eating pizza, pop and french fries for lunch and people are wondering why obesity has become a national problem. Now that the military has begun to suffer from the lack of healthy recruits slim enough to take on military duties, perhaps something will finally be done to address these issues.
Fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains and low fat dairy products or alternatives should be available to all students and children. A healthy diet alongside daily physical activity is the very obvious recipe for nurturing healthy adults.
Feeding kids healthy meals doesn’t have to be a major headache or source of distress. Children will generally eat fruits and veggies when these are available, but will stray towards unhealthy treats if they have developed a taste for such things. If as a parent you yourself are fuelling up on chocolate and hamburgers then you might want to reconsider the example you are setting. If we expect our children to grow into healthy adults, then we must begin to take responsibility for setting healthy models to follow.
Regardless of your political stance therefore, the US military’s inability to find suitable recruits is merely one more sign that the fat factory has gotten way out of hand.
Joe trains 5 times a week at Bally’s Gym in Orange County. The full article, Obesity Epidemic Affecting US Military , is available at our blog.