Photo by: Jackie.
This weekend I saw my cousin, Jimmy, for the first time since he completed basic training for the Marines three years ago. I cannot believe that skinny young adult has transformed into this trim and muscular person. Though Jimmy had the thin stooped frame of a marathon video gamer, he had no problems with passing the physical at the entrance processing station. But that is not the case for every hopeful recruit. As a matter of fact, most recruits have a problem with excess weight rather than being too small for the military.
Are Young People Too Fat for the Military?
According to an article from the Associated Press, 3 out of 10 applicants are rejected for being obese. Of the 7 applicants left, 2 applicants are considered overweight.
According to an article on Fox News, today’s recruits are on average 37 pounds heavier than Civil War soldiers.
When there are complaints of school lunches contributing to child obesity, the government give lip service to the problem. When there are complaints about labeling the country of origin for produce, the government dragged its feet for years before requiring labeling in supermarkets.
But when the government finds that it has a hard time recruiting because too many 18 year olds are overweight or obese, what does it do? It opens a weight loss camp as part of its Army Prep School at Fort Jackson.
That’s right — a school offering classes for recruits to earn their GED, exercise daily, and take a nutrition class. Does this sound like what a properly funded high school should be?
Besides the military, think about the cop and donut jokes.
My friend’s husband is a sergeant for the County Sheriff and hates hearing the donut jokes. He told me once that new cadets in the police academy seems to be a little “huskier” than 10 years ago. Initially I was surprised since I always imagine law enforcement to be a pretty healthy group in general (except our overweight police chief). But it makes sense since the police and fire service traditionally recruit from the same demographic group as the military. It is easy to see the overweight and obese trend happening in law enforcement as well.
What does this mean for us?
Often, the physical training for these recruits will get rid of the excess 10-20 pounds. But I find it ironic that even though the government recognize that child obesity is an issue, they are only willing to action where they have a direct benefit — supplying able bodied men and women to a unpopular war.
As for the rest of us? Let’s stop putting up with these wishy washy federal guidelines for nutrition in the food pyramids and government pamphlets. Let our kids have proper PE classes again. Let the school ban junk food. We need to change our status quo if we want all 18 year olds to be healthy instead of a selected few.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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