Skip to comments.Too fat to fight: Colorado nonprofit says military threatened by childhood obesity
Posted on 10/15/2017 1:29:45 AM PDT by markomalley
Even the kids in America's fittest state are too fat to fight their nation's wars, a pro-military nonprofit argues in a new study.
The military has long bemoaned America's tubby youth, and the Council for a Strong America says Colorado is part of the problem, with more than 27 percent of the state's children categorized as overweight.
"Low levels of physical activity and the obesity epidemic are contributing to an unprecedented readiness problem for our armed forces," the nonprofit said.
Those extra candy bars compound a complex problem for military recruiting. Between other health issues, criminal records and other troubles from facial tattoos to drug habits, a full 70 percent of Colorado teens are ineligible for military service.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Terrance McWilliams said extra pounds are of special concern because weight can cost lives on the battlefield.
"It gets extremely dangerous when you can't keep up with the rest of the pack," said McWilliams, the former top enlisted soldier at Fort Carson. "You are putting your fellow comrades at greater risk."
Strong America's lament might sound familiar. The nonprofit has been citing the issue for years as a danger to America's national security.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 17 percent of America's kids are overweight. But the military has a tougher standard. A 6-foot teenage recruit is expected to weigh less than 184 pounds by military standards, when most medical charts would let him have 12 more pounds of cheeseburgers.
M. Michael Cooke, Strong America's state director, said the nonprofit sees the goal of slimmer kids as more than a military imperative.
"It does render those kids unfit to fight but there are many other reasons to combat childhood obesity," she said.
Cooke said fat children face health challenges for a lifetime, costing society.
But as the Army aims to bring in 80,000 recruits in the next year, having too many obese teens is troubling for the military.
In a news release, Army Recruiting Command's Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow said it met 2017 targets by bringing in 69,000 recruits, but hitting the goal came at a cost.
"The command achieved its mission by the use of enlistment bonuses for as much as $40,000, with an average bonus of $12,800 for 33,000 recipients to attract the best-quality candidates for service," the command said.
To help the military get more fit recruits, Strong America wants state-mandated physical education classes in public schools, more bicycle lanes and boosts to programs that provide healthy food to the poor.
Cooke said while Colorado is known for having the leanest adult population in America, that hasn't translated to thinner kids.
"We are one of three states in the nation that doesn't mandate physical education," she said.
Strong America is broken into several wings, aimed at fighting crime, boosting the military and keeping children in school. The charity, backed by nonprofit giants including the Gates Foundation, plans on taking the obesity issue to the Colorado General Assembly next year.
Cooke said she hopes to push lawmakers into policies that lead to healthier kids. Most of what the group wants, she said, can be accomplished for little tax money.
"It remains an important message and we haven't solved the problem," Cooke said.
Retired Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, who headed U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, said the nonprofit is on the right track. He said families have a big role to play, too.
Renuart said parents need to turn off the television and send kids outside more. They also need to keep an eye on what their kids eat, he said.
"It requires parents be participants and leaders in their children's activity and eating lifestyles," Renuart said.
Another option remains for the military: Allowing more fat recruits into the ranks.
McWilliams said that would be a dangerous move.
"When you have people who aren't physically fit, it degrades the accomplishment of the mission."
The Army tried easing standards at the height of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including allowing heavier troops.
McWilliams said that caused a nightmare for commanders preparing their units for combat overseas.
"When you do introduce that rigorous physical activity to some of them, that's when you discover the serious health issues that went undiagnosed," he said.
The whole problem of military readiness, though, shares a common thread Cooke asserts.
"You need to make an investment in children in their younger years."
Yet another reason to end the food stamp program.
Not on food stamps, but I went to sign up with national guard after 9/11. I live in NYC.
5 11, 240 pounds. They said too heavy.
I stopped boxing only maybe 4 years earlier so i was still plenty strong and it seems knocking 40 pounds off in a strict 2 month military program would be worth the addition of someone who’s in otherwise good condition.
It would be two months of discipline before training too.
And these people in stamps need to be buying 70 cents a pound chicken.
Or not getting anything at all!!
But they want to live like working folks without the work
My platoon at Parris Island had a recruit drop from 250 to 180 in 13 weeks. While the rest of us were on 5,000+ (IIRC) calories/day, he got perhaps 3,000.
Any Freeper nutritionist out there to chek my math?
Too fat and or too weak of character and mind.
Frankly, the article is full of pathetically passe’ cliches.
Too many candy bars? Hamburgers? TV? Where do these people have their heads? Are they oblivious to the technological inducements to indolence? Smart phones, etc?
Bike lanes? The state is already riddled with them and so the answer is more?
Nobody ate more candy bars or hamburgers than my generation. A fat teenager then was the exception and an object of ridicule. I met a friend the other night at the local pub and the youngsters were a bunch of porkers. Fat AND body ink? What a turnoff.
In retrospect, we were the golden ones.
(BTW, an enlistment bonus? Where was that concept fifty years ago?)
Get 4 hours of intensive non stop (except for a 10 min break) cardio work.
Each of these packages has to be picked up...scanned....and stacked in the correct space on a shelf in the delivery truck
Packages include beds....barrels...heavy truck parts...boxes of ammunition...folded furniture from Ikea.
Wear a handy hand scanner:
mrs WeWaWes works in the wellness/fitness/obesity/diabetes world and i get the facts daily and we have been in the midst of an epidemic for a long time. she recommends: “moderation, lean protein and fresh vegetables” as a bumper sticker diet. eliminate the bread, pasta and sugar.
Growing up in the 70s the only candy we got all year was what we collected on Halloween. It was so exciting going through our bags afterward to see what we got - and then everything had to be frozen for 24 hours before we could have a piece. Oh, and watch out for needles!
The Seventies were definitely a better time to be a kid...
5,000 is a lot of calories. You were probably getting around 3,000 and him 2,000. Just an assumption.
“Young Chinese are ‘too fat and masturbate too much to pass army fitness tests’”
They will also be impeded by the leftist anti-American indoctrination into communist/socialist ideology by the public school systems!
I hope it wasn't this guy.
more bicycle lanes
5,000 calories was what we were told. We would routinely do 100 to 200 'squat thrusts' per infraction, several times each day. We once did 1,000 straight followed by 600 the next morning. In addition we had runs in combat boots.
I was in good shape before PI. I gained 16 lbs during boot camp - just muscle, no fat.
This calculator indicates a daily calorie burn of 3,950 plus factoring in weight gain of 16 lbs @ 3,500 cal/lb over the course of 13 weeks adds 650 cal/day. My estimated total would have been 4,600.
"You need to make an investment in children in their younger years."
It's ironic to think that the school lunch program started because the military in WW II thought that American youth were under nourished, and wanted the lunch program to be sure that we had sufficient numbers of well nourished men to fight any future wars.
I guess that is one government program that succeeded a little too well. /sarc
Pork Chop Platoon.
I was that weight and height but lost 60 lbs. to be at my weight watchers lifetime goal weight of 179 lbs, same as my senior year high school football weight.
It took nearly three years and I have been at goal now for 4 years.
People have no clue about, weight, weight loss and obesity. Neither do most nutrition scientists.
Incidentally, only 20% of Weight Watchers reach goal. And fewer than 25% of them (less than 5% of the total participants) maintain goal after five years. And Weight Watchers is one of the few valid programs.
In short, Americas obesity pandemic is not going to be fixed. It will only exponentially increase.
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