Photo: U.S. Army
Recently a group of retired American generals, admirals and civilian military leaders published a report called “Ready, Willing, And Unable To Serve” to highlight the growing national security problem – Pentagon statistics show that 75 per cent of young people ages 17 to 24 are currently unable to enlist in the U.S. military.The report lists the three main barriers to enlistment as the failure to graduate high school, a criminal record and lack of physical fitness (including obesity).
It notes that 27 per cent of enlistment-age young adults are too overweight to join the military – many are turned away by recruiters while “roughly 15,000 young potential recruits fail their entrance physicals every year.”
The retired military leaders recommend that state and federal policymakers ensure that America’s children have access to high-quality early education.
Fortunately there is one thing already working in their favour: Obamacare.
• Releasing information regarding health promotion amd preventive health services; recommendations from the Community Preventive Services Task Force; the link between health behaviour and chronic disease prevention; and the preventive services supported by various federal agencies.
• Creating a website that will contain nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, and obesity reduction guidelines.
• Supervising the Director of the CDC, on behalf of the Secretary, in creating “national science-based media campaign on health promotion and disease prevention” to promote “proper nutrition, regular exercise, smoking cessation, obesity reduction” and disease screening.
• Creating a plan “to facilitate the dissemination of health promotion information by providers that participate in federal health care programs.”
And effective January 1, states like California are now able to “apply for federal funding opportunities regarding promoting healthy eating and preventing obesity… and provide in-kind support to support local assistance to local governments, nonprofit organisations, and local education agencies that encourage specified healthy eating programs.”
So although the report says that current trends suggest the number of Americans ineligible due to weight will continue to rise, there is hope that the implementation of the Patient Protection Act may keep that from happening.
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