Muslim Times(Web Desk) – At least a third of American youth are too obese to be eligible for military service, a new study has warned, prompting Pentagon officials to make promoting healthy lifestyles a priority.
The report, published Wednesday, found that roughly 31 percent of young American girls and boys are disqualified from military service because of their obesity problems.
The study also warned that around 71 percent of the youth between the ages of 17 and 24 do not meet the required standards for service under the US military’s current recruitment needs.
This is why the US Army missed its recruiting goal of 70,000 soldiers for this year by 6,500.
Mississippi, Louisiana and the District of Columbia, are the three regions that young people suffered the biggest disadvantage, with ineligibility percentages hovering between 75 to 78 percent, the report noted.
Titled “Unhealthy and Unprepared,” the study was put together by Mission: Readiness, a group of retired US admirals and generals who focus on children, and the bipartisan non-profit Council for a Strong America, which provides solutions for future generations.
“It’s crucial … to our national security that those willing to serve must be prepared to meet the standards of eligibility,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Samuel Ebbesen said during a panel at the annual Association of the US Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.
“Fat people don’t make good soldiers,” he added. “They get injured more often. They take longer to heal when they get hurt. And they lack stamina, which is critical when you fight in a war. A weak link in the chain, and they get themselves or others hurt or killed!”
US Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller said earlier Wednesday that the trend was worrying.
“That should scare you,” he said during a Defense Writers’ Group breakfast, warning that finding recruits was not just Army issue as other branches of the military were also struggling to meet their demands.