This blog is a reaction to an article I read in Men’s Health, November 1, 2011, in a section called “Men At War.” I was shocked to learn that in studies conducted between 1959 and 2008, young Americans ineligible for enlistment because of overweight/obesity issues more than doubled for men and tripled for women. 5.7 million young men and 16.5 million young women exceed the service’s enlistment weight standard.
The weight standards are not super stringent.. remember these folks are typically in the age 17-25ish age bracket for JOINING the military.
The author interviewed a military chef (12 years service in this capacity) who said he’s never seen the situation as bad as it is now with pizza, chicken nuggets, cake, regular soda….”as much as they want.” The already overweight basic trainers go from one high carb, fried item to another.
He then called an Army drill instructor who said it’s the worst he’s ever seen it…with over 60% of kids arriving at Basic overweight. The same instructor said that the current platoon arrived 10 weeks ago (64 recruits) and with five weeks of Basic remaining, 25 of the enlistees were gone….half from injuries related to their weight. These kids are carrying so much weight that they get hip injuries, stress fractures, blow out their knees. Because they didn’t have the injuries prior to Basic (they didn’t exercise before), they can’t become soldiers, but they are compensated for their injuries.
Many new enlistees come to Basic having no history of ever playing sports, regularly exercising, being fit, or eating healthily. Ironically, this generation of sedentary soldiers from the Nintendo and computer generation have the best hand/eye coordination to date….nearly everyone can pick up on tasks involving computers. But…that’s not what being a soldier is about….The author asks…”How many drone operators do we really need?
This brings me back to a recurring blog topic. We need to face the fact that the high carb, fast food, super sized, sedentary generation is going to be the fattest, sickest group of adults to live on the planet….due to lifestyle! We might not be wiped out by a plague or a virus….we will be wiped out by long term abuse to our bodies. It’s time to get busy with our youngest generation and revamp what we are teaching regarding health of mind, body, and spirit. We are going to be responsible for the “environment” we placed our children in….and this lifestyle is child abuse.