A group called ‘Mission: Readiness‘ recently released a new report, titled “Still Too Fat To Fight.”The report, signed off on by several hundred military retirees, argues that of the 75 per cent of Americans aged 17 – 24 (military recruitment age) who are unqualified for service, one third fail to qualify because they’re too obese for the battlefield.
Nanci Hellmich of USA Today reports that these former military members’ new mission is to eliminate junk food from schools, as a matter of national security.
“We look at childhood obesity not only as a health crisis but a national security issue,” retired Air Force lieutenant general Norman Seip told Hellmich. “When 25 per cent of young people can’t join the military simply because they are overweight, that’s an issue that needs to be dealt with.”
Seip, a spokesman for the organisation, said that “at the end of the day” all the technology and research and defence spending in the world isn’t what protects the U.S., it’s individual Americans, and if they’re not ‘fit to fight,’ there’s no amount of tanks or planes that can help.
The services themselves have enough difficulty with obesity in the ranks. The Marine Corps recently went on a multi-year crack down of Marines with too much “body mass” for their height, using surprise weigh-ins. This tactic didn’t just target fat Marines, but Marines too burdened by muscle, believe it or not.
As early as February of this year, though, the Obama administration announced a change to the military diet standards. The standards have been unchanged for 20 years. It calls for more fruits and veggies, for services struggling to keep some of their people fit.
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