75% of American kids too fat to join the Army?

091028-N-4908A-094Well, the actual figure is 27 percent of Americans are too overweight to join the military, but that’s just a detail. Whether the reason is too much fat, too little education, or a criminal record, 75 percent of American kids can not meet the minimum standards to join the military.

That should be cause for rejoicing among the anti-war crowd. But, really, do we want to stop our kids from putting on a uniform by turning them into couch potatoes?

Even among those kids who aren’t overweight, another 32 percent can’t enlist because of other health problems. Criminal records disbar another 10 percent. One-quarter of the draft-age population lacks a high-school diploma, and many of those who do can’t pass Army entrance exams. That only leaves about 20 percent of young people who can enlist without waivers or tutoring by recruiters.

The Pentagon is worried that there won’t be sufficient manpower for a military that is already overstretched. But the 2000 census recorded some 39 million Americans between the ages of 15 and 24, so even if only 20 percent were eligible to enlist, that still leaves plenty of cannon fodder manpower.

No, we should be worried more about national self-respect than national security. The military has tightened its standards since I graduated high school in 1981, when most of my classmates going into the service were in the remedial math class. But today’s standards aren’t THAT hard.  To pass an Army physical fitness test, an 18-year-old male must perform 42 push-ups in two minutes, 53 sit-ups in two minutes and run two miles in 15 minutes and 54 seconds. Now  I was hardly a jock back then, and I would have had to work a bit on the push-ups,  but the rest of it doesn’t seem too hard for a teenager.

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4 Responses to 75% of American kids too fat to join the Army?

  1. olgalednichenko says:

    How come in the USA, we dont focus on the health issue – in isolation ?

    Don’t get me wrong: you said that already -here ->

    “No, we should be worried more about national self-respect than national security”

    But can we get one step further ?

    can we change the incentive for health? – neither shame – nor any other form of fear .. nor some externally directed greed based incentive – like – ” get six packs and get laid” -> to
    health = good – for YOU .. for your SELF .. Kinda like focus on yourSelf ?

    i think thats hard to do, yes, but the external based incentives are notoriously associated with a short half-life

    of course we can list the externally oriented benefits in the 2nd through the 10th points.. but the first and foremost reason – should be my-self …

    what do you think?

    ps: i know.. i know.. i know.. it sounds like Yoga, the new age and the East.. but then again, I did list the benefits – get laid, less of pocket medical costs and what not…

    see my name is Olga + Shulman + Lednichenko.. its a curry.. and I live in Middle East – which means – neither west – nor East 🙂

    hoping for a healthier planet..

    cheers
    me

  2. Pingback: All In One Information » Michael Peck - Uncommon Defense – 75% of American kids too fat to …

  3. John Knefel says:

    Michael–
    Great post. I actually just wrote about the same thing. Didn’t see that you had already thrown your two sense in. My bad. But this story is weird enough for a few takes on it, I think.

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