Obesity Affecting National Security – “Fat People Don’t Make Good Soldiers”
According to an article in the Army Times, the number of recruitable youth is declining rapidly: some of it is attitude because they’re just not interested, but a big portion (no pun intended) of it is obesity. Recruits are too fat to be in the Army. That’s not counting the exorbitant cost of keeping overweight troops…they use almost double the amount of medical care that their slimmer compadres use.
“Out of all the reasons that we have future soldiers disqualify, the largest – 31 percent ― is obesity…We’ve got to make sure that message gets out, because our concern is what happens when that percentage that qualify … potentially goes down? Or if the obesity, if that starts to go up.” Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command to AUSA
The Army is already having difficulty meeting its recruitment goals.
Army Times wrote,
In 2016, 13 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds were interested in joining the military, and that number dropped 2 percent in 2017.
And for recruits who are overweight but not so much so that they can’t enlist altogether, there are risks after they have joined and are getting in shape during training.
The obesity issue is particularly stark in the South, from which the Army draws a large number of its recruits. The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, found that recruits in 10 Southern states had lower levels of physical fitness and were 22 percent to 28 percent more likely to be injured during basic training than their peers from other areas of the country, according to Mission: Readiness.
The study found that soldiers who were obese were 33 percent more likely to suffer musculoskeletal injury. Those sorts of injuries are the most common in medical evacuations during deployments “over and above” the actions of the enemy.
“You know, lieutenant, fat people don’t make good soldiers. They’re a weak link in the chain, and they get themselves and others killed.” Retired Lt Gen Sam Ebbessen
Does that mean it’s apples instead of gravy and potatoes for the troops? Probably not. They’re hoping that new nutrition standards will teach young people healthier eating habits. However, that big juicy hamburger with nice, greasy french fries will still be calling many.