Obe­sity thins out Pen­tagon hir­ing

NEARLY ONETHIRD of young Amer­i­cans are now too over­weight to join the Pen­tagon IT IS a wor­ry­ing statis­tic for mil­i­tary of­fi­cials al­ready fac­ing re­cruit­ment chal­lenges

The Asian Age - - World -

Wash­ing­ton, Oct. 13: For­get about the high­tech mil­i­tary chal­lenges from China and Rus­sia, the Pen­tagon is fac­ing a fast- grow­ing na­tional se­cu­rity threat that could be even trick­ier to tackle: Amer­ica’s obe­sity cri­sis.

A study re­leased this week has found that nearly one- third of young Amer­i­cans are now too over­weight to join up, a wor­ry­ing statis­tic for mil­i­tary of­fi­cials al­ready fac­ing re­cruit­ment chal­lenges. “Obe­sity has long threat­ened our na­tion's health. As the epi­demic grows, obe­sity is pos­ing a threat to our na­tion's se­cu­rity as well,” the Coun­cil for a Strong Amer­ica states in its new re­port. The Army last month an­nounced it would miss its goal of at­tract­ing 76,500 new re­cruits in 2018. The short­fall is of about 6,500 sol­diers -- the first time since 2005 the ser­vice had missed its hir­ing tar­gets.

A strong US econ­omy and tight jobs mar­ket played a role, but the num­bers high­light the dwin­dling pool of ap­pli­cants the Pen­tagon has to draw from. Ac­cord­ing to the De­fence De­part­ment, obe­sity is one of the top rea­sons why 71 per cent of Amer­i­cans aged 17- 24 do not meet the mil­i­tary's sign- up re­quire­ments.

“Given the high per­cent­age of Amer­i­can youth who are too over­weight to serve, re­cruit­ing chal­lenges will con­tinue un­less mea­sures are taken to en­cour­age a healthy life­style from a young age,” states the study, ti­tled Un­healthy and Un­pre­pared. Other fac­tors such as prior drug use or a lack of aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions are also tak­ing a toll.

The re­port, com­piled by a group of re­tired gen­er­als and ad­mi­rals, notes that the obe­sity is­sue is a par­tic­u­lar worry as it comes when fewer young peo­ple are in­ter­ested in join­ing the mil­i­tary in the first place.

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